Zimbabwe water crisis forces elephant translocation

Source: Zimbabwe water crisis forces elephant translocation | The Financial Gazette October 27, 2016

GOVERNMENT has transferred over 500 elephants from Hwange National Park to less populated areas in Masvingo and Manicaland provinces in the wake of the on-going water crisis, the worst to hit Zimbabwe in 25 years.
The translocation comes at a time when Hwange National Park is struggling to accommodate its 45 000 elephant population.
It has a carrying capacity of about 15 000 elephants.
The 500 elephants being transferred from Hwange will be relocated to Chipinge, Chimanimani and Malilangwe, among other habitats with less elephants.
They had become a danger to both their habitat and surrounding communities, according to Water, Environment and Climate Minister, Oppah Muchinguri-Kashiri.
“We are in the process of translocation so that the animals don’t concentrate in one area. We have quarantined baby elephants after which we will translocate the elephants to habitats with a few elephants,” she told the Financial Gazette last week.
Muchinguri-Kashiri has been advocating for the resumption of trade in elephants to capacitate the Zimbabwe National Parks and Wildlife Authority to carry out conservation programmes.
Zimbabwe has the second largest elephant population in Africa.
The country has often threatened to pull out of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES) because it is not being allowed to sell its estimated US$9,6 billion worth of ivory that has been piling up over the decades.
Muchinguri-Kashiri said translocation of elephants was costly and advocating for expeditious trade in ivory against the CITES agreement was not criminal because the country was desperate to save its elephants from natural causes of death.
“Translocation is an expensive exercise so we are currently putting elephants in quarantine. We wish to trade the elephants so that we can use the ivory proceeds for conservation and develop our wildlife through drilling boreholes and translocation of the animals,” said Muchinguri-Kashiri.
Although, reports of smuggling of baby elephants to China have often surfaced, Muchinguri-Kashiri insisted that trading in elephants was the only solution to conserving and growing elephant populations.
“Trading will help us because we don’t have money for conservation. The elephants have become a danger to the communities because they are now tracking down water sources in communities. It is a serious conflict because people in self-defense will kill these animals,” Muchinguri-Kashiri told the Financial Gazette. 
The animals have become a menace to some of the communities surrounding Gonarezhou, Chipinge, Malilangwe among others where the elephants from Hwange are to be relocated. The lumbering giants are roaming the countryside in search of the water, which has become scarce in their natural habitats.
The entire Southern African Development Community region is currently battling its worst drought in 25 years as a result of the EL Nino weather phenomenon that affected most parts of the region.
Because of the water crisis, of the 85 boreholes that were sunk in Hwange National Park, only 65 are working, leaving the elephants, which drink about 200 litres of water each a day, in dire need of the precious liquid.
“Sixty-five boreholes vis-a-vis the ever growing elephant population is not proportional because some of them (boreholes) have broken down. We are in the process of canvassing resources and from the little we got (US$7 million), we are going to drill more boreholes,” said Muchinguri-Kashiri.
The water crisis has caused chaos in communities across the country where only 10 000 boreholes out of a total of 20 000 boreholes are functional.
The country has been forced to import more drilling machines from Belarus in order to address the dire water situation.
Muchinguri-Kashiri revealed that the water table has gone below 50 metres, hence boreholes are now being sunk as deep as 100 metres.

COMMENTS

WORDPRESS: 6
  • comment-avatar

    This woman has absolutely no idea of what she is talking about – she probably has never even seen an elephant in her whole life. But what she is advocating is a bit like going to some of the more densly populated townships and taking arbitrary kids away from their poor mothers and depositing them in what is perceived to be less populated townships. Elephants of ALL ages have feelings and emotions just like us humans. This woman claims that the elephants are a danger to people in Chipinge, Chimanimani and Malilangwe, but in the same story she is quoted as saying that that is where she is going to send more elephants because the places are sparsely populated – this woman clearly has absolutely no idea of what she is doing. But what can you expect from any Minister of grandpa’s government. They are all the same – sheep that are a….e lickers.

    • comment-avatar
      Doris 6 years ago

      100% right. What is 500 elephant out of 45000? How do you “quarantine” an elephant. They aren’t cattle! If proper maintenance had been done on the boreholes that were donated, by the way, then there wouldn’t be a water crisis. Mismanagement of the worst kind. Ignorance of the worst kind. And the elephant are now going to be killed so that this stupid woman can raise money from the sale of ivory? Please..

  • comment-avatar
    Doris 6 years ago

    And I’d love to be a fly on the wall when they try to remove those babies out of a female herd!!

  • comment-avatar
    Barry 6 years ago

    C’mon Fingaz. “Has transferred” and “will transfer” don’t mean the same thing.

    Sketchy reporting aside, even someone like the Hon Monster should know that pulling out of CITES would have no effect whatsoever, because all the end user nations would still be members. It would destroy Zimbabwe’s safari industry for that very reason. Good way for the government to shoot itself in both feet though.

  • comment-avatar
    Barry 6 years ago

    C’mon Fingaz. “Has transferred” and “will transfer” don’t mean the same thing.

    Sketchy reporting aside, even someone like the Hon Monster should know that pulling out of CITES would have no effect whatsoever, because all the end user nations would still be members. It would destroy Zimbabwe’s safari industry for that very reason. Good way for the government to shoot itself in both feet though.

    And has anyone who actually knows what they are talking about actually looked at the logistics of relocating 500 elephant? Or whether it would make any difference?

  • comment-avatar

    Barry – nobody has looked at the logistics of moving 500 elephant (let alone 5), because these ministers are pathetically stupid and brainless. All they spew is lies , falsehoods and propaganda. Truly and utterly stupid people in ZanuPF. Think of how much this exercise will cost. Millions, which would be better spent on importing drugs for the hospitals, helping with kids school fees, paying wages for teachers. And if this stupid woman was to initiate a sale of all Zim’s ivory, NOT ONE CENT would come to Zim, it would ALL be externalized in 24 hours.