At least 200 elephant deaths blamed on Zimbabwe drought

By Danielle Haynes

Nov. 12 (UPI) -- At least 200 elephants have died in Zimbabwe since October amid a severe drought in the southern African country, wildlife officials said.

Most of the animal deaths have been in conservation areas in Mana Pools and Hwange National Park. Zimbabwe National Parks and Wildlife Management Authority spokesman Tinashe Farawo said the drought is affecting "almost every animal."


"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," he said.

The agency said it plans to relocate about 600 elephants -- along with antelope, buffalo, giraffes, lions and wild dogs -- from Save Valley Conservancy to other national parks.

Zimbabwe, which is home to one of the largest elephant populations in Africa, declared a national emergency after the yearly October rains never materialized. Watering holes dried up and became mud pits, trapping animals that tried to reach what little water was left.

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