Zimbabwe’s Wildlife Suffer Under Political Turmoil

Zimbabwe’s corrupt and troubled government is not only making life miserable for many of the country’s people but also for its once famous populations of elephants, rhinoceroses, and other wild animals. By some estimates, up to two-thirds of animals on Zimbabwe’s game farms and wildlife preserves have been killed, including endangered species like painted wild dogs and rhinos. Tourism and limited big-game hunting once brought millions of dollars into the country each year, but the government has confiscated many lands where these activities took place and encouraged squatters and political allies to move in. In one preserve, antelope are being killed to feed members of the Green Bombers, a feared government paramilitary group. Poaching is less of a problem in national parks, but animals in the parks suffer because of crumbling infrastructure. For example, in Hwange National Park, where the water-supply system is breaking down, some six elephants were found dead this month of dehydration and stress.