Wildlife in Zimbabwe roams outside protected areas, crossing communal areas as populations migrate across the country’s rich natural landscapes. In Zimbabwe’s northern district of Mbire, situated in the Mid-Zambezi Valley and bordering Mozambique and Zambia, the increased interface between people and wildlife raises various risks for communities, wildlife populations, and entire ecosystems.
By the time the rains had failed yet again in October 2019, more than 100 elephants had already succumbed to the southern drought in Zimbabwe alone. One of the harshest dry periods experienced in the region in the last four decades, the extended drought disappeared water sources across shrinking grazing areas. Wildlife mortalities continued to rise in Zimbabwe’s iconic protected areas, most notably in Hwange and Mana Pools National Parks.
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“Do you have a favorite animal?” I ask Jealous Alafai, a 52-year-old Zimbabwean fisherman along the Zambezi River.
He chuckles and says, “Of course I do!”
“The elephant, because it is my totem.”
“What do you mean?”
“In our culture, we don’t eat our totem animals. In fact, we respect them.”
One fine morning in 2019, Chenjerai Chimukoro woke up to a herd of nearly 70 elephants in his farm working their way through his sorghum, cotton, and maize plants. He knew that he had to act fast to save what was left of the crop and ensure that his family would have something to eat come harvest time. Luckily, he was prepared.
AWF protects nearly 40 % of Africa's elephants. Support our programs to stop elephant poaching and ivory trafficking.
Critically endangered black rhino lost an estimated 97.6% of its population since 1960 with numbers bottoming out at 2,410 in 1995. When you support African Wildlife Foundation, you aid in the conservation and growth of endangered species like the rhino.
In a 1900 census, the cheetah population was around 100,000. Today, less than 9,000 remain in Africa. With less prey and habitat—and pursued by hunters—the cheetah is at a high risk of extinction. With your help, AWF can continue providing incentives to locals to prevent hunting.
Elephants don’t know borders.
Elephant populations in Southern Africa roam freely across many countries, seeking food, water, and suitable habitat. As a result, monitoring, protecting, and securing habitats for elephant herds is particularly difficult.
Agriculture and population growth threaten wildlife in Zambia.
Historically, wildlife roamed freely around the Sekute Chiefdom in southern Zambia. But, in recent years, human population growth, agricultural enterprise, and tourism-related development have threatened these critically important wildlife dispersal corridors.