In order to save the country’s wild animals, ZimParks are planning the biggest ever long-distance relocation in Zimbabwe. So far 200 elephants had already died due to lack of food and water due to an El Nino-induced drought. Natural animal habitats are gone and half of the population is in need of food aid.
Zimparks and private partners are planning to move 600 elephants, giraffe, lions, buffalo, antelope and spotted wild dogs, from the Save Valley Conservancy in southern Zimbabwe to three other national parks over distances of 1000km. The migration would also help to save the conservancy’s ecosystem.
Zimbabwe is home to 80,000 elephants, around a fifth of Africa’s total. Overall numbers had declined sharply in recent years, as a result of poaching, illegal hunting and drought. Zimparks does not receive government funding and needs $40 million annually for conservation efforts, but only generates half the amount.
Zimbabwe, with South Africa, Botswana and Namibia, unsuccessfully lobbied the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species for controlled sales of their ivory stocks at a meeting in August. Trade in ivory is banned to deter poaching. Zimparks says its ivory stockpile is worth $300 million, money it can use for wildlife conservation.
Zimbabwe had exported nearly 100 elephants, mainly to China, earning $3 million.