Friday, January 15, 2016

Former Botswana president loses 89 zebra to heat wave as record breaking high temperatures persist

By Oscar Nkala GABORONE, January 14 (ANA) – Former Botswana President and wildlife rancher Sir Ketumile Masire this week revealed that 89 out of the 300 zebra at his private farm in the south-eastern part of the country had died due to the heat wave and water scarcity since January 6. The revelation came days after the Botswana health ministry announced an increase in the number of human deaths, from three to five, due to the heat wave. Addressing a press conference at his residence in Gaborone on Tuesday night, Masire said hundreds of other animals, including eland, gemsbok, hartebeest, kudu, and impala, were under threat due to the lack of water, which worsened last month following the bursting of a 32km-long pipeline that supplies water to the farm. “I had about 300 head of zebra, but 89 have died since January 6 in the ranch where I also keep eland, gemsbok, hartebeest and wildebeest, among other animals. “A pipeline that supplies water to the animal reservoir burst some time ago, and with insufficient water, the zebras have started perishing,” Masire said. The former president said he had approached the department of wildlife and national parks with a proposal to de-stock. He proposed selling some of the animals when it became clear that they would fall victim to the water crisis. But, Masire said he had failed to get any help. According to the department of meteorological services, a maximum daily temperature of 44 degrees Celsius was recorded for the first time in 72 years in the northern town of Maun on Thursday last week. On the same day, the capital Gaborone also recorded its highest temperature of 43 degrees Celsius, breaking a record that was set in 1944. – African News Agency (ANA)

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