190 elephants die from thirst in Zimbabwe

Last Updated: Wed, Dec 05, 2012 06:58 hrs

Harare: Zimbabwe has lost at least 190 elephants owing to water shortage at Hwange National Park, the largest in the country, during the dry season this year, said authorities.

Last year, the national park lost 80 elephants and 25 buffaloes in the same period as a result of high temperatures and water shortages, according to the Parks and Wildlife Management Authority.

Felix Chimeramombe, Parks and Wildlife Management Authority regional manager in charge of the Western region, said the figure reflects an increase compared to the same period last year, reported Xinhua.

He said his organisation has been engaging stakeholders to assist in resolving the water shortages and begun scooping water points in an effort to reduce siltation as well as improve retention capacity in the future.

"We could be having more than those numbers but Hwange is a vast area and it is difficult to cover the whole area in terms of accounting for the mortalities that we have encountered this year," Chimeramombe was quoted by state radio as saying.

He said a total of 25 buffaloes and five zebras also got stuck in the mud and died at Matetsi Camp when they were attempting to access water.

A single elephant can drink up to 100 litres of water at one sitting and can drink up to 250 litres per day during the dry season.

Hwange National Park has in the past also seen an influx of elephants from Botswana, a development which has also put pressure on the limited resources which have to cater for an estimated 50,000 elephants and other species of wildlife.

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