Civilani Tseko Agric, Environment and Innovation Editor
The Zimbabwe Parks and Wildlife Management Authority (Zimparks) and other actors in the private wildlife sector have begun relocating some 2,640 animals from a park in the south of the country, where thousands of animals are at risk of dying from drought and loss of biodiversity in parks in the south of the country. Northern part of the country.
Zimbarks spokesman Tinashe Farao told the Herald on Sunday that the authority had issued permits for mass relocation of the animals from the Save Valley Reserve in the southern part of the country to three other national parks – Tsabi, Cesarera and Matusadona in the north.
A number of animals have reportedly died in the past in the park in the south due to lack of food and water.
About 400 elephants, 2,000 impalas, 70 giraffes, 50 zebras, 50 buffaloes, 50 eland, 10 lions and 10 wild dogs will be moved to parks in the north – in one of the largest wildlife relocations in the country Since the fifties of the last century when it was Lake Kariba. It was built and mass transfers of animals took place.
Some of our parks are overcrowded and lack adequate food and water. We have issued permits for relocations so that the animals are moved to areas with water and food.
We issued the permits after extensive evaluations and research. Environmentalists, zoologists, and others from South Africa helped us make assessments of security and availability of water and food before deciding to move the animals.
“Resources permitting, we like to do it more often. Mass transportation of animals is very expensive. In 2018, when we moved 100 elephants, it cost us $500,000.”
Farao said the mass transportation of animals was privately paid and funded.
“In the dry and arid park of the south, there is a massive loss of flora and biodiversity due to the overpopulation of wild animals. Animal relocations are expensive but better than culling which is drawing criticism from animal welfare activists.”
“Wildlife tourism is a very sensitive sector. We are relocating animals now because it is cooler and the animals will not die of distress and we move them over long distances. This is probably the second largest relocation in Zimbabwe after Operation Noah in the 1950s when the Kariba Dam was under construction.”
Migration is expected to save the reserve’s ecosystem by evacuating the population. Animals are now a threat to their survival.
Most African protected areas need about US$200 per hectare to maintain and protect wildlife species in their game parks, says Dr. Alistair Ball, a veteran research and conservation management expert at the African Wildlife Foundation.
Many in South Africa struggle to maintain the parks due to a lack of adequate resources and manpower. South African countries including Botswana, Namibia, Zimbabwe and Zambia have for years been battling the global regulator of the wildlife trade to give it the rights to sell ivory acquired through natural deaths, confiscation and culling.
The countries are home to the largest number of elephants in the world.
South Africa is home to half of Africa’s elephants, and Zimbabwe’s population of over 100,000 against a carrying capacity of 45,000 ranks second only to Botswana in the world.
Zimbabwe and some SADC countries are concerned about the negative effects of the ban on trophy hunting, the ivory trade and the destruction of stocks.
The ban is having a devastating effect on tourism and revenue for conservation agencies that rely solely on wealthy tourists from the West.
One of the hardest hit conservation agencies is the Zimbabwe Parks and Wildlife Administration (ZimParks).
The loss of revenue from wildlife tourism has had a significant impact on its operations and how it manages its wildlife species and habitats.