As Drought Hits Zimbabwe, National Parks Relocate 400 Elephants to Areas
with Better Vegetation
September 15, 2022
Amid an ongoing drought, the Zimbabwe National Parks and Wildlife
Management Authority (ZimParks) said it had relocated 100 elephants since
July and many other wild animals from the arid southern parts of the
country to the north, where there is better vegetation and water.
ZimParks spokesperson Tinashe Farawo told the Xinhua news agency on
Wednesday that the Authority issued permits for the transfer of 2,650
animals from the Save Valley Conservancy to three national parks in the
north Tsapi, Chizarira and Matusadonha.
The animals targeted for relocation include 400 elephants, 2,000 impalas,
70 giraffes, 50 zebras, 50 buffaloes, 50 elands, ten lions and 10 wild dogs.
The relocation exercise began in July, and so far, he said 100 elephants
and a "significant number of other wild animals" had been relocated.
He said the main reason for relocation was to depopulate overcrowded areas
and create a balance in the ecosystem.
Climate change induced-drought resulting in loss of habitat, food, and
water was posing a risk to the animals. The only way to protect the habitat
was to make sure that we create a balance by relieving pressure on crowded
areas, Farawo said.
Zimbabwe has become prone to frequent droughts in recent years due to
climate change, posing the risk of hunger to humans and wild animals.
The country has an overpopulation of elephants numbering over 100,000
against an ecological carrying capacity of 45,000.
The jumbos are located in four main ecological zones, and two of the zones
The four zones are North West Matabeleland where the country's biggest game
park Hwange is located; South East Lowveld, home to the second biggest park
Gonarezhou; and the Sebungwe region mid Zambezi in the northern part of the
This is not the first time that ZimParks has moved the animals.
In 2018, it moved 100 elephants from the South East Lowveld to the
mid-Zambezi, while plans to relocate 600 elephants in 2020 were affected by
the COVID-19 pandemic.
The relocation program is an expensive exercise, and ZimParks has in the
past lamented inadequate funds to carry out the program successfully.