Drought and climate change are being held responsible for a minimum of 100 elephant fatalities in a national park in Zimbabwe.

Drought and climate change are being held responsible for a minimum of 100 elephant fatalities in a national park in Zimbabwe.

The weather phenomenon known as El Nino..

Officials are cautioning that further fatalities may occur due to predictions of limited rainfall and increasing temperatures in certain areas of southern Africa, such as Hwange National Park. The International Fund for Animal Welfare has labeled this situation a critical issue for elephants and other wildlife.

According to Tinashe Farawo, spokesperson for the Zimbabwe National Parks and Wildlife Management Authority, El Nino is exacerbating an already critical situation.

El Nino, which occurs in the Pacific, has a warming effect on certain areas and has an impact on global weather patterns. The current El Nino has caused…

devastating floods in East Africa

It is anticipated that there will be reduced rainfall in southern Africa in the near future.

Zimbabwe Dead Elephants
In this photo supplied by IFAW, an elephant lies dead meters from a watering hole in Hwange National Park, Tuesday Dec. 5, 2023.

Privilege Musvanhiri / AP

That has already been felt in Zimbabwe, where the rainy season began weeks later than usual. While some rain has now fallen, the forecasts are generally for a dry, hot summer ahead.

Studies indicate that

The intensity of El Ninos could possibly be impacted by climate change.

, resulting in more severe outcomes.

Officials are concerned about a recurrence of the events in 2019, where over 200 elephants in Hwange perished due to a severe drought.

Phillip Kuvawoga, a landscape program director at the International Fund for Animal Welfare, stated that this occurrence is happening repeatedly. The organization recently released a report raising concerns about the elephants in Hwange.

The spokesperson for the parks agency, Farawo, shared a video on social media platform X (previously known as Twitter). The video captured a young elephant in distress, as it was stuck in mud at a partially dried up water hole in Hwange.

According to Farawo, young, elderly, and sick elephants are most impacted as they are unable to travel far for water. He also stated that an average-sized elephant requires approximately 52 gallons of water per day. Farawo also provided photos of a female elephant trapped in mud and another one that died in a shallow water source.

Park rangers extract the tusks from deceased elephants in order to safeguard them and prevent the remains from becoming a target for poachers.

Hwange is the residence of approximately 45,000 elephants as well as over 100 other species of mammals and 400 species of birds.

The rainy season in Zimbabwe used to begin consistently in October and last until March. However, it has become unpredictable in recent times, with longer and more severe periods of drought being observed by conservationists.

Trevor Lane, director of The Bhejane Trust, a conservation organization that supports Zimbabwe’s parks agency, stated that our area will experience a substantial decrease in precipitation. This may result in the reappearance of a dry period due to El Nino.

He said his organization has been pumping 1.5 million liters of water into Hwange’s waterholes daily from over 50 boreholes it manages in partnership with the parks agency. The 5,600-square-mile park, which doesn’t have a major river flowing through it, has just over 100 solar-powered boreholes that pump water for the animals.

Conservationists emphasize that saving elephants is not only important for the well-being of the animals, but also for addressing climate change. Elephants play a crucial role in maintaining ecosystems by dispersing plant seeds through their dung, which allows for the growth and expansion of forests. In turn, forests help to reduce carbon dioxide levels in the atmosphere, which contributes to global warming.

Lane stated that elephants play a much larger role in reforestation than humans and this is one of the main reasons why they strive to protect them.

Source: cbsnews.com