Commercial Farmers' Union of Zimbabwe

Commercial Farmers' Union of Zimbabwe

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Elephants die of thirst

Elephants die of thirst

Hwange National Park has been hit by a critical water shortage which has 
resulted in the death of 17 elephants.

by Zwanai Sithole

The Parks and Wildlife Management Authority spokesperson, Caroline 
Washaya-Moyo, said in a statement that the current hot season has resulted 
in an increase in high temperatures which has accelerated the rate of 
evaporation of water from the holding pans.

Pressure on the few remaining water holes is also increasing owing to an 
increase in wildlife frequenting the watering points.

“This situation has obviously created a situation whereby pumped water is 
not adequate for game during the dry season. Water demand in the national 
park appears to be outstripping supply during the hot season,” said Washaya 

She said the parks, particularly Robins and Sinamatela camps, have already 
seen an influx of other wildlife species from neighboring Botswana.

Washaya-Moyo said her organization was appealing for financial assistance to 
avert a disaster in the park, similar to the devastating draught of 1992 
where thousands of wildlife species died of thirst in the vast national 

On Thursday last week, parks officials held a meeting with stakeholders at 
the Main Camp to try and solicit help for the dying elephants.

The stakeholders that have been engaged include Wildlife Environment 
Zimbabwe, which has already offered a dam scooper and a tractor. They have 
so far done three pans and these are Libingi, Makwa and Kennedy 1 and work 
is still in progress at other sites.

About 80 elephants succumbed to thirst last year in the park, which recorded 
a total of 35 deaths. She said the authority needs urgent assistance towards 
the resuscitation of borehole engines while the engines require constant 

Main camp has a total of 39 boreholes, 32 diesel, two solar, four wind and 
one submersible while Sinamatela has eight boreholes, five diesel, two 
solar, four wind.

Robins Camp has two boreholes and both use diesel. Wildlife conservationists 
have also warned that Presidential elephants in Hwange Safari Lodge face a 
similar predicament .

Most of the animal drinking pans in the area have run out of water. The 
conservationists in the area have accused Hwange Safari lodge management of 
neglecting the watering pans and the area where the special presidential 
herd roam freely. The lodge which is owned by Dawn properties is being 
leased by African Sun.

Hwange National Park has an estimated population of 45 000 elephants against 
a carrying capacity of 30 000. 


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