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SOS Rhino : In the News : Current Rhino News : Zambia Distributes Food to Starving Wildlife

Zambia Distributes Food to Starving Wildlife

  Fri Oct 18,11:00 AM ET
Science - Reuters

LUSAKA (Reuters) - Southern Africa's food crisis has affected animals as well as people, prompting Zambia to start distributing food to the country's starving wildlife, a conservation official said Friday.

Food shortages caused by poor weather and made worse by political problems in southern Africa are threatening not only 14 million people in the region but also thousands of wild animals, the Zambia Wildlife Authority's director-general, Hapenga Kabeta, told Reuters.

Hunger was weakening such tourist favorites as elephants and white rhinos, he said, and had already killed 43 game animals.

Feeding animals outside fenced parks is difficult because of their mobility, he said, but his agency is trying to help them in the Mosi-O-Tunya national park near Livingstone, about 250 miles south of the capital Lusaka.

"The food supplements include hay, molasses, maize husks and lucerne, and we have also provided veterinary services to the animals to remove ticks and other diseases," he said.

Animals are also running out of water, so the authorities are pumping supplies to the park from the nearby Zambezi river.

In southern Zambia, the worst affected part of the country, animals are competing for water and wild fruits with some of the three million people living there, he said. The country's total human population is about 11 million.

Kabeta said his agency would also relocate half of some species to other protected but less threatened areas.

Zimbabwe, Malawi, Mozambique, Lesotho and Swaziland are also facing severe food shortages.



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