Zimbabwe Parks and Wildlife Management Authority confirms that a team of 15 people who included an ecologist, Tom Lautenbach and a pilot Gift Kgadima, from UAV and Drone Solutions and Zimbabwe Parks and Wildlife Management Authority rangers, successfully rescued a juvenile bull elephant from mud in Hwange National Park on 3rd October 2016. The young bull is approximately 6 years old.

Zimbabwe Parks and Wildlife Management Authority spokesperson Caroline Washaya-Moyo said the juvenile bull elephant was spotted in the early hours of the morning by Tom and Gift who were out driving in the park. The elephant was seen stuck upside down in a watering hole. The pair quickly drove back to Main Camp offices to get more people to assist to flip the elephant over and out of the water trough.

The pair which initially thought the elephant was dead suddenly noticed that it was alive. Its whole body was under water and was occasionally using its trunk to breathe. He looked extremely stressed and exhausted.

She added that such occurrences are expected especially this time of the year when elephants exert pressure on most natural water pans are getting almost dry. When elephants visit such muddy pans to cool down themselves and quench their thirst, the young ones are the most vulnerable, as they get stuck in the mud. However, the Authority’s rangers have been equal to the task in rescuing the young bull.

Currently 83 boreholes pump water in Hwange National Park while 6 more are being added under the Hwange Sanyati Biological Corridor Project, HSBC. It is the intention of the Authority that all boreholes be solar driven. The following stakeholders have been working to also ensure that no wildlife is lost as a result of shortages of water and these are Bhejani Trust, Wilderness Safaris, Imvelo Safaris, Somalisa, Friends of Hwange, and The Hide.

Washaya-Moyo added that the Authority is  confident such a strategy will mitigate against game water shortages during the dry season in Hwange National Park and remains grateful to its stakeholders. No wildlife has died yet as a result of the dry season.

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