As global temperatures continue to rise, the effects of Climate Change are being felt all over the world. As is the case in Zimbabwe and many other countries, wild animal species are suffering as a result of the decreased water supply, which now ranks as a greater threat to their life than illegal hunting. "Project Rewild Zambezi," is a new country-wide operation to relocate at-risk animals from the south to the north of Zimbabwe. The hope is that the water supply in the north of the country will be sufficient for the time being. Here are all the details of the project.
2,500 wild animals in total have been relocated so far, making it one of southern Africa’s biggest live animal capture and relocation efforts, and the first animal mass-movement in Zimbabwe in 60 years. Including elephants, impalas, giraffes, buffaloes, wildebeest, zebras, elands, lions, and wild dogs, the logistics of the move have been carefully planned out. A helicopter is used to round up the impalas into an enclosed area, mechanical devices lift medicated elephants into transport vans, and rangers are employed to gather the rest of the animals into cages. They then collectively set out on the 700km journey to their new home.
Tinashe Farawo, the spokesperson for the Zimbabwe National Parks and Wildlife Management Authority, explained that as a result of the prolonged no rain period, the habitat has become incredibly dry, leaving the environment inhabitable. According to him, relocation is important to prevent "a disaster from happening." "For years, we have fought poaching, and just as we are winning that war, climate change has emerged as the biggest threat to our wildlife," Farawo told The Associated Press.
"Many of our parks are becoming overpopulated, and there is little water or food," Tinashe explained. "The animals end up destroying their own habitat…" As a result, they are endangering themselves as well as humans as they desperately search for food in unconventional areas. The consequence, he said, is ongoing "conflict." Motions to reduce the number of animals have been met by much anger on behalf of the conservation groups. So, for now, the Zimbabwe animals are happily residing in the Sapi Reserve - a private reserve along the beautiful Zambezi River and a a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Stay tuned.