A severe drought has prompted Zimbabwe’s national parks and wildlife agency to put some of the animals in its reserves up for sale.
The Zimbabwe Parks and Wildlife Management Authority (Zimparks) said in a statement Monday it’s planning to “destock its parks estates.”
The agency didn’t say what kind, how many or exactly how it intends to sell the animals that have made parks in Zimbabwe a long-time tourist draw.
The statement indicated that Zimparks intends to sell to private wildlife reserves, but conservation groups will be watching closely to see if any animals appear destined for hunting concessions.
The world reacted with outrage when an American hunter killed Cecil the lion on the edge of a Zimbabwean reserve last July, but it seems that any applicants wanting to purchase animals will be thoroughly checked out.
“We hope the funds will be used to buy food and secure water facilities for distressed animals,” Environment, Water and Climate Minister Oppah Muchinguri-Kashiri told CNN.
The southern African region is suffering from a harsh drought made more severe by the longest El Niñoweather pattern in decades, which could affect up to 50 million people, according to the World Food Programme.