WILDLIFE rights group, Bhejane Trust, has drilled a 15 000-litre per hour borehole in the vast Hwange National Park to address water challenges and supplement supplies for pans which normally dry up during the dry season.
By Nokuthaba Dlamini
The organisation’s director, Trevor Lane, said the drilling and equipment was partly funded by a foreign conservationist, Ian Gloss, who has been committed in saving wildlife in the park for years.
“Bhejane Trust has drilled another borehole in the Chamabondo Vlei. This is to supplement other pans as sometimes up to 600 elephants come for night drinking and the existing pump cannot keep up, as it is giving 39 000 litres per day against a demand of possible 60 000 litres per day,” he said.
“The new borehole has tested over 15 000 litres an hour, so once connected we will have plenty of water. What is left is to source a solar pump. At a rough calculation, we are now pumping slightly over one million litres of water daily for more than 8 000 elephants and other animals.”
During the dry period which stretches from August to November, elephants and other animals succumb to heat stroke in the park. Alerted by the predictions of drought, the Victoria Falls-based Bhejane Trust started drilling and setting up solar-powered boreholes in the park in May last year.
Hwange’s animals rely on an artificial supply of water developed in the 1920s. But since the early 2000s, the pumps and pipes have not been repaired with government citing financial challenges.
The trust operates and maintains a network of more than 34 boreholes, in collaboration with the Zimbabwe Parks and Wildlife Management Authority, GroupElephant and the Conservation and Wildlife Fund.