An image of dead zebras hanged by the legs is alleged to be showing the outcome of Zimbabwean government allowing mining at the Hwange National Park.
According to a report by The Herald, the Zimbabwean government in 2015 gave the Zimbabwe Mining Development Corporation (ZMDC) rights to mine at Hwange National Park. The mining activities did not begin until recently and have wound up affecting wildlife at the nation’s biggest national park.
The hashtag #SaveHwangeNationalPark was led by civil societies and individuals alike in condemning mining activities that put the environment and wildlife within the park at risk. The Zimbabwe Environmental Law Association took the debate to the courts by announcing on September 7 that they had filed a court case against those mining at Hwange National Park.
According to a report on the Mining Zimbabwe website, the government awarded special grants to two Chinese firms to mine coal at the national park.
However, on September 8 the Zimbabwean government declared a ban on all mining activities in national parks. Information, Publicity and Broadcasting Services Minister Monica Mutsvangwa announced the ban, adding that procedures are underway to cancel those who already have titles to mine in parks.
Wildlife in Zimbabwe had already been at risk since an unknown illness had been affecting elephants. Zimbabwe Parks and Wildlife Management Authority Spokesperson Tinashe Farawo on September 2 confirmed that 22 elephants were found dead. More than 300 elephants have also died from a mysterious illness in the neighbouring country of Botswana.
The image showing dead zebras was initially posted on the EMS Foundation Facebook page and shows zebra carcasses that had been on transit in South Africa, where the Burchell breed of zebras is normally farmed for meat. The truck transporting the “meat” had overturned near Warrenton according to a Facebook post published on the EMS page on September 7.
The image showing vultures surrounding an elephant’s carcass is from 2019. A Google reverse image search reveals that the image shows the effects of the drought that occurred in November 2019. According to an article on the Sky News website, the photo was taken at Hwange National Park.