'Fish were dying every minute': Conservationist helps move fish from drought-hit Zim dams

2016-10-15 09:58


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Bulawayo - You've heard of hippos being trapped by sinking water levels due to drought, but what about fish?

Zimbabwe's state wildlife authority, aided by conservationists, has taken the unusual step of relocating fish from two small drying dams in the Matopos area of southern Zimbabwe.

With no rains in sight, fish were dying by the dozen in Maleme Dam and Sandy Spruit Dam last month, says Baye Pigors who helped in the rescue efforts.

Pigors, who runs the Free To Be Wild sanctuary in Bulawayo, was shocked by what she saw when she arrived at Maleme.

"The water was so low that all you could see was hundreds of ripples from the fish trying to breath on the surface as there was no oxygen left in the water. Fish were dying every minute," she told News24.

"Both dams were mere mud puddles," she added. There were dead fish both in and out of the water.

With the help of aerators, nets and trapping buckets (some of them borrowed), at least 140 live fish were moved last month into two dams where water levels were not so low. The exercise is understood to be continuing where necessary.

Zimbabwe is in the throes of a severe drought that is thought to be one of the worst since the early 1990s. Rains do not normally start until November.

Pigors is more used to dealing with monkeys, mongooses, servals and other animals at her Bulawayo sanctuary. She says she has to constantly cool them off with hose sprinklers.

"Temperatures this week have been near the 40s," she told News24.

Read more on:    zimbabwe  |  southern africa  |  conservation

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