ENVIRONMENT and Natural Resources minister Francis Nhema says government has no plans to cull elephants in the Hwange National Park where the animals are reportedly succumbing to water and food shortages.
By our Bureau Chief
Nhema told NewsDay in Nyamandlovu on Saturday that culling was out of the question.
“The elephants have been affected by the drought, something which some see as a natural culling process, but as government we are trying to ensure that they get water because we do not want to lose our herd in that way,” he said.
“However, what we do not want is to baby feed the animals because that would be unnatural. We are not advocating the culling of the elephants.”
In October this year, wildlife authorities said they were using 45 generators and about 200 litres of diesel per week to pump water for the elephants at the Hwange National Park, home to about 45 000 jumbos. Some ecologists have estimated the elephant population in Hwange as having doubled the park’s carrying capacity.
Consequently, some elephants are now moving out of the park to neighbouring districts like Hwange and Tsholotsho in search of water and food, leaving a trail of destruction in some instances.
An average elephant eats about 200kg of food and drinks large quantities of water daily.
Zimbabwe’s elephant herd is believed to be around 100 000.