WAN Exclusive With Trevor Lane Of Bhejane Trust About Elephant Deaths In Drought-Stricken Zimbabwe; Help Needed To Build More Solar Wells

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Photos from Bhejane Trust, Facebook

Reports continue to surface about the number of elephants that have recently perished in Zimbabwe due to the effects of drought throughout the country.

Zimbabwe and other parts of Africa are struggling on a daily basis just to find clean water for humans while its dwindling wildlife population hangs in balance due to the drought.

WAN had the opportunity to speak exclusively with Zimbabwe Conservationist, Trevor Lane, a pioneer in finding modern solutions to the water crisis that has been impacting African wildlife for decades.

“Fortunately, we had a very late storm hit our areas in April which dropped 200mm of rain, filled the pans and refreshed the bush,” explained Lane, co-founder of the Bhejane Trust. Lane established the nonprofit organization in 2010, along with fellow conservationist Stephen Long, to work closely with and assist Zimbabwe Parks and Wildlife Management Authority on a variety of issues.

Among its many distinctions, Bhejane Trust was responsible for introducing and facilitating a supply of fresh water to the Parks for imperiled wildlife, in the form of solar-powered water pumps. He and his team also work around the clock “doing the dirty work” which also involves resuscitating old boreholes, drilling new ones, installing solar pumping units, and restoring pans after many years of neglect.

“If it had not been for that late storm, we would be facing a far deadlier situation,” continued Lane, who noted that some areas of Hwange National Park and lower Zambezi National Park did not experience the late rain and are losing animals. “But, we cannot rely on a late rain storm occurring every year so we need to plan ahead for the worst-case scenario.”

While Lane explained to WAN that the challenge of supplying water to wildlife at this time of year in Zimbabwe is not new, some of the contributing factors to the current situation are:

An influx of elephants from Botswana to Zimbabwe.

“We are currently inundated with elephants,” said Lane, further explaining that the elephants are visiting from Botswana because the country has “dried up” and does not pump water for wildlife. Once Botswana experiences its next rain, the elephants will return to their country and so will the poachers.

On average, it is common for the Trust to provide more than two million liters of water to over 25,000 animals daily, including more than 10,000 elephants. Presently, according to Lane, there are an estimated 50,000 elephants both from Zimbabwe and Botswana vying for the limited resource.

Meanwhile, temperatures in Zimbabwe are also rising daily putting threatened and endangered wildlife under increased stress.

“I have just returned from Kazuma Pan National Park and the animals are in whatever shade they can find within a kilometer of the water,” Lane shared with WAN, noting that with so many more wild animals in the area, the Trust is currently drilling two new boreholes in the Park to meet the increased demand. “We rushed a drilling rig out and are drilling two holes before we run out of water.”

Bhejane Trust also plans to drill a new borehole in both the Zambezi National Park and the Sinamatella area of Hwange National Park. The Trust currently operates six solar water points at the former Park and 15 at the latter.

In total, the Trust operates more than 40 wildlife water-points throughout the park, but it is still not enough for all of the endangered wildlife, they need our help to create more.

It is important to note that the Bhejane Trust depends solely on donations; with the installation of each solar water pump costing an estimated USD $15,000.

Please donate to The Bhejane Trust so they can continue their critical life-saving work to save Zimbabwe’s wildlife, HERE!

Please also advise the Trust of any donations made by emailing: trevor@bhejanetrust.org

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