At least 55 elephants have starved to death in Zimbabwe’s Hwange National Park over the past two months amid a severe drought.
“The situation is dire,” Zimparks spokesman Tinashe Farawo said. “The elephants are dying from starvation and this is a big problem.”
The drought has massively reduced crop levels in Zimbabwe.
A third of the population is reportedly in need of food aid in the midst of an ongoing economic crisis.
In August, a World Food Programme report said two million people were at risk of starvation in the country.
Some of the elephants were reportedly found within 50 metres (yards) of water pans – suggesting they had travelled far and died just before reaching them.
The elephants have caused “massive destruction” of vegetation in Hwange, Mr Farawo said. The park can handle about 15,000 elephants but currently has more than 50,000.
Zimparks – which does not get government funding – has been trying to drill wells but lacks the money to continue, Mr Farawo added.