Zimbabwe wildlife authorities say at least 55 elephants have died of hunger and thirst in Hwange national park, the country’s largest natural reserve.

Tinashe Farawo, the Zimbabwe national parks and wildlife authority spokesperson, confirmed the deaths to state broadcaster, on Monday.

He said the situation at the game reserve was desperate and the authority was looking for funds to sink more boreholes in the game reserve.

“We can confirm that a total of 55 elephants have died at the national park over the past two months due to starvation,” he said.

“The situation at most of our parks is dire due to the climate change-induced drought.”

The game reserve depends on groundwater pumped from several boreholes.

Samson Chibaya, another wildlife management official, said the available boreholes were not enough to meet the water demand.

“While we have made efforts to try and convert some of the water pumping stations from diesel to solar powered pumps, we have seen that some of the water pans are drying (up),” he said.

“We are calling for more resources for installation of diesel pumps to complement the solar pumps.”

Zimbabwe – with more than 84,000 elephants – has the second biggest herd in the world after Botswana but can sustainably manage about 56,000 of them.



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