Zimbabwe’s wildlife park agency says more than 200 elephants, buffalo, and antelope have died since October due to a lack of food and water. They are planning a mass relocation to help provide relief.

Speaking to Reuters, Zimbabwe National Parks and Wildlife Management Authority spokesman Tinashe Farawo said:

‘Almost every animal is being affected. Of course, elephants are easily noticed during patrols or game drives, but some bird species are seriously affected because they can only breed in certain tree heights and those trees are being knocked down by elephants.’

A number of animals have begun to stray from the parks into nearby residential communities in search of food and water. This has contributed to 33 wildlife conflict related deaths this year alone.

The agency now plans to relocate 600 elephants, two lion prides, a pack of wild dogs, 40 giraffes and 2,000 impalas from their current home in Save Vally Conservancy to less congested wildlife parks elsewhere in the country.

Farawo added:

‘This is the biggest translocation of animals in the history of wildlife movement here because we are talking of distances of more than 1,000 kilometres,’

The relocation efforts will begin once the summer rains arrive, which are expected to start this week. The rains will offer major relief for both the animals and farmers, as they can now begin preparations for the 2019/20 season.