Record Rains Drown and Strand Animal Residents of Zimbabwe's Starvation Island


A water buck attempts to swim from Starvation Island to the mainland in northern Zimbabwe. Photo by the Associated Press

It may take another Noah's Ark to save the population of Zimbabwe's sadly aptly named Starvation Island, where record seasonal rains have flooded the grazing land the animals rely on -- and left those that can't swim unable to reach mainland food sources.

Some two-thirds of the island in northern Zimbabwe has been submerged by rising lake waters, the Telegraph newspaper reports:

The two-square-mile island has become four dots of land in the lake, stranding hundreds of animals without enough to eat. At least 200 animals are in immediate danger of starvation, conservationists have warned.

Though certain animals have managed to swim to safety -- in some cases aided by rescuers in boats, who helped a group of impalas escape by "holding them by the horns to keep their heads above water for the last stretch" -- smaller species of antelope, kudu, buck, warthogs, and monkeys are unable to reach the lake's main shore two miles away.

Dam On The Zambezi River
When the 190-mile-long dam along the Zambezi River that created the lake was completed in 1960, "tens of thousands of animals were herded inland from the vast valley as it filled. Others were captured and relocated from high ground and outcrops like Starvation Island. That program was known as Operation Noah," the Telegraph wrote.

Conservationists are again stepping in to try and save the area's species, though mass evacuations are not yet planned. Groups such as the SAVE Foundation of Australia, which focuses on endangered wildlife in Zimbabwe, and throughout Africa, are bringing in shipments of hay and food to the animals that remain stranded on the island. Via: "Animals struggling to survive on Zimbabwe's Starvation Island," Telegraph

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Tags: Africa | Animals | Australia | Natural Disasters

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