Associated Press Archives A herd of elephants crossing Hwange National Park, located in western Zimbabwe , in November 2019
Elephants and other buffaloes from Zimbabwe's largest national park have been migrating massively for several weeks to neighboring Botswana due to lack of water, we learned on Monday from the Management Authority of Zimbabwe Parks and Wildlife.
“Many animals are leaving Hwange National Park for neighboring Botswana,” Zimparks spokesperson Tinashe Farawo said on Monday.
< p>Hwange Park, covering an area of some 14,600 km2, is home to around 50,000 pachyderms.
The migration of Hwange wildlife to Botswana is not an unusual phenomenon, but it is notable this year due to its precocity, according to the spokesperson. Natural water points are now dry earlier in the year than usual, due to a lack of precipitation.
“I cannot give the precise number of elephants that have moved, it may be hundreds or thousands, but in any case, there are many,” lamented Mr. Farawo, who clarified that this forced migration began in August.
“The animals are looking for water and food and it is not just elephants and buffaloes, but all types of animals present in the park,” he added.
“The number of migrating animals has clearly increased in recent years due to increasingly severe water shortages,” he added. he clarified.
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According to him, this massive displacement of wildlife risks provoking new confrontations with humans: “More animals will invade communities, people fighting over 'water with them.'
Since last year, several clashes between elephants or buffaloes and residents of villages neighboring Hwange Park have been recorded. According to the government, at least 60 people were killed last year by elephants, which are growing in number.
Zimbabwe has about 100,000 elephants, almost double the capacity of its parks, according to environmental advocates. With 130,00 specimens, Botswana is the country with the most specimens in the world.
The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) has classified southern Africa as a region at risk for extreme heat and reduced precipitation due to global warming.