Harare, Zimbabwe (CNN)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.
“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.
National parks in the region have historically sold animals to private entities to remove excess game or to get high-value wildlife like rhino into areas more difficult to access by poachers.
The southern African region is suffering from a harsh drought made more severe by the longest El Nio weather pattern in decades, which could affect up to 50 million people, according to the World Food Programme.