HARARE - At least 55 elephants have starved to death in the past two months in Zimbabwe's biggest national park as a serious drought forces animals to stray into nearby communities in search of food and water, authorities said on Monday.
"The problem is real, the situation is dire," said National Parks and Wildlife Management Authority spokesman Tinashe Farawo. Other animals such as lions at Hwange National Park have been affected.
This is the worst drought in years in the southern African nation that also suffers from a collapsing economy.
As animals stray from Zimbabwe's wildlife parks they destroy crops and sometimes kill people, Farawo said, adding that more than 20 people have been killed this year alone.
Overcrowding in Hwange contributes to the destruction of vegetation. The park can handle 15 000 elephants but currently has about 53 000, Farawo said.