According to Zimbabwe’s park agency more than 200 elephants, buffalo, and antelope have died since October due to a lack of food and water. The park agency is planning a mass relocation to help ease the problem.
Speaking to Reuters, Zimbabwe National Parks and Wildlife Management Authority spokesman Tinashe Farawo said that ‘almost every animal is being affected. Of course, elephants are easily noticed during patrols or game drives, but some bird species are seriously affected because they can only breed in certain tree heights and those trees are being knocked down by elephants.’
A number of animals have begun to stray from the parks into nearby communities as they search for food and water. This has led to 33 deaths from conflict with animals this year alone.
The agency now plans on relocating 600 elephants, two lion prides, a pack of wild dogs, 40 giraffes and 2,000 impalas from their current home in Save Vally Conservancy to less congested wildlife parks around the country.
‘This is the biggest translocation of animals in the history of wildlife movement here because we are talking of distances of more than 1,000 kilometres,’ said Farawo.
The relocation efforts will begin once the summer rains arrive, which are expected to start sometime this week. The rains will offer major relief for both the animals and farmers, as they can now begin preparations for the 2019/20 planting season.