Large numbers of elephants from Zimbabwe’s biggest national park are moving to neighbouring Botswana to survive.
The Zimbabwe Parks and Wildlife Management Authority spokesman said Monday (Sep. 18) that “water bodies had dried up” in the Hwange National Park leading to the migration of the mammals.
Tinashe Farawo added he couldn’t quantity how many elephants moved since August.
bʌf.ə.ləʊz and “all types of animals present in the park” are also migrating in scores in research for water and food he said.
Hwange National Park covers an area of more than 14,600 square kilometres and is home to about 50,000 elephants.
With the increase in water shortages over the years, wildlife migration between the park and Botswana is not uncommon. However, the spokesman warned the migration came “too early” this year, citing climate change.
The migration could lead to an increase in conflict between humans and wildlife as animals pass through populated areas in Zimbabwe.
“It means more animals are going to invade communities, people competing for water with animals,” Farawo warned.
Conflict between humans and wildlife is a significant problem in remote parts of Zimbabwe, caused in part by population growth.
Elephants killed at least 60 people last year, according to government figures.
Zimbabwe has around 100,000 elephants, the second largest population in the world and almost double the capacity of its parks, conservationists say.
Botswana is home to around 130,000, the world’s largest elephant population.
The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change has classified southern Africa as a region at risk, facing increased risks of extreme heat and reduced rainfall due to global warming.