Zimbabwe heat wave kills 77 elephants

2011-11-23 20:57

Harare - Wildlife authorities say at least 77 elephants have died in a three-month heat wave in western Zimbabwe that has dried up watering holes.

The state Parks and Wildlife Authority said in a Wednesday statement that rangers in the Hwange National Park have counted 18 calves and 21 adolescent elephants among the dead animals.

In a heat wave since September, Zimbabwe's biggest nature preserve has seen temperatures soar to above 40°C, far higher than annual averages.

The statement says scarce funding has hindered efforts to repair man-made watering holes that have broken down. Independent conservationists say the death toll of elephants, buffalo, zebra and antelope species could be larger in many inaccessible areas of the park.

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