Zimbabwe: Drought claims 55 elephants

ANKARA (AA) – At least 55 elephants have died over the past two months in Zimbabwe’s largest national park due to severe drought, according to local media reports.

“We can confirm that a total of 55 elephants have died at the national park over the past two months due to starvation. The situation at most of our parks is dire due to climate-change induced drought,” the Zimbabwe Broadcasting Corporation (ZBC) quoted Tinashe Farawo, the Zimparks public relations manager, as saying Monday.

Some elephant carcasses have been seen within 50 meters (164 feet) of water pans, the ZBC reported, saying that ecologists believe the elephants had travelled long distances in search of water.

Hwange National Park was established in 1930 as a national game park on land spanning nearly 15,000 square meters (161,500 square feet).

“The park was meant to cater to 15,000 elephants, but now is home to more than 55,000 elephants, hence the habitat for smaller animal species has been destroyed too,” Farawo told Anadolu Agency in remarks published Saturday.

On the dying elephants, he added: “At first we thought it was poaching but we discovered the animals are dying with their tusks. We tested the carcasses but we could not establish poisoning, hence we concluded starvation.”

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