By Sinikiwe Marodza
Harare - Barely a few weeks after the Zimbabwe Parks and Wildlife Management Authority (Zimparks) issued a report stating that 55 elephants had died due to drought at Hwange National Park, the country’s largest wildlife sanctuary, another report has emerged indicating that the drought continues to claim more elephants in Zimbabwe.
So far a total of 105 elephants is believed to have died due to the drought, with statistics from Mana Pools National Park adding to the 55 elephants that died in Hwange during the past few months.
According to a recent report by Zimparks, apart from the deaths recorded in Hwange National Park last month, more elephants at Mana Pools Park, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, died in October.
The drought is not only affecting Zimbabwe, but countries like Botswana, Namibia and Zambia also went through a heat wave a few weeks ago as temperatures soared to above 40 degrees Celcius, resulting in deaths of wildlife.
“At least 105 elephants have died in Zimbabwe's wildlife reserves, most of them in Mana Pools and the larger Hwange National Park in the past two months. Many desperate animals are straying from Zimbabwe's parks into nearby communities in search of food and water.
“Mana Pools, annually experiences hot, dry weather at this time of year. But this year it's far worse as a result of poor rains last year,” the Zimparks report said.
Although seasonal rains are due, parks officials at Mana Pools are living in fear of losing more wildlife.
Wildlife lovers around the Mana Pools area have since engaged in an initiative to save the struggling and distressed wildlife.
Munyaradzi Dzoro, a parks agency wildlife officer at Mana Pools, said although the rain season was near, there was still an immediate need of relief water supply.
"It's beginning to be serious, something should be done, lest the situation might be worse especially if no rains are received,” he said.
Zimparks is currently in the process of moving some of the vulnerable animals from the parks that were mostly affected by drought, to some parks where water and pastures are still available.
Although the process is quite expensive, the Zimparks officials are doing all they can to save wildlife animals in Zimbabwe.
However, some wildlife lovers and concerned authorities, especially at the Mana Pools park, have since engaged in some supplementary methods of feeding wildlife.
Authorities at Mana Pools have been supplementing food and water for animals around the areas, since June although the process is quite expensive and could not help all of the animals.