By Penny Marshall, ITV
Until this year elephant graveyards belonged to myth and legend. But now in Zimbabwe elephant carcasses litter the national parks
Hundreds of elephants have died of starvation because of the El Niño drought.
In one of the national parks, Mana Pools, donors have helped rangers intervene to feed the animals to save them.
In Hwange National Park in the South, more than 200 animals have died. Those who work with the wildlife here are confident the drought is the result of changing weather patterns due to climate change.
They are already planning for next year when they will need to support the animals as drought becomes the new normal. They want to dig bore holes and bring in pumps – but with Zimbabwe’s economy on the brink of collapse there is no Government money to help.
It’s not just the shortage of water that hurts the animals. No rain means no grass and so a lack of food is causing many of the herbivores and grazers to die.
For the elephants – who require a vast area to live off – there is also the problem of decreasing habitat. The space they have to roam has been almost halved in the past 40 years and in Hwange nearly 50,000 elephants are competing for very little food in an area that should support a third of that number.
The summer rains are now on the horizon – but even so it will be weeks before the land produces the grass the animals need.
The earth is parched, the space diminishing.
As a result of climate change – some of Africa’s most iconic species are suffering.