Heartbreaking Tragedy: Over 100 elephants die in Zimbabwe’s Hwange National Park


At least 100 elephants have tragically perished at Hwange National Park due to a severe water shortage caused by the El Nino global weather pattern. The devastating drought has caused vital watering holes to dry up, leaving approximately 45,000 elephants in the country’s protected areas struggling to survive.

In a press release, Phillip Kuvawoga, the Landscape Programme Director of the International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW), highlighted the dire situation. He explained that an extended dry season had transformed once abundant water sources into mere muddy puddles, posing a significant threat to the park’s elephant population.

“Summer rains are five weeks late due to the ongoing El Nino phenomenon, and dozens of elephants have already died in Hwange National Park, the country’s largest protected area, which is home to about 45,000 elephants. At least 100 elephants have already been reported dead due to the lack of water. Elephants and other wildlife species will face a crisis if the rains don’t come soon,” warned Kuvawoga.

He further noted that in 2019, over 200 elephants in Zimbabwe had succumbed to severe drought, emphasizing the recurring nature of this devastating phenomenon.

Despite the presence of 104 solar-powered boreholes, park authorities have stated that they are insufficient in meeting the water needs of the wildlife, especially in the face of extreme temperatures that are drying up existing waterholes. As a result, wildlife, particularly water-dependent mammals like elephants, are compelled to traverse long distances in search of food and water.

The distressing news of the drought’s impact on Hwange National Park coincides with the global climate change conference, COP28, taking place in Dubai. Kuvawoga emphasized that IFAW’s focus at COP28 is to advocate for wildlife conservation as a nature-based solution to address climate change.

“Wild animals play a crucial role in protecting the carbon already stored in nature, preventing its release into the atmosphere, and aiding in the absorption and storage of additional carbon. The devastating impact of climate change on wildlife and humans necessitates an integrated and holistic approach to support climate-resilient landscapes and communities,” stated Kuvawoga.

He concluded by stating, “The anticipated deaths of elephants and other species, as we are witnessing in Zimbabwe right now, should be seen as a symptom of deep-rooted and complex challenges that affect the conservation of the region’s natural resources, exacerbated by climate change.”

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