55 Elephants Starved To Death In Zimbabwe Park In Past Two Months

File picture of elephants crossing the road in Hwange National Park, 2015 (Photo: ASSOCIATED PRESS)

Zimbabwean authorities say at least 55 elephants have starved to death in the past two months in the country’s biggest national park amid a serious drought.

National Parks and Wildlife Management Authority spokesman Tinashe Farawo on Monday called the situation at Hwange National Park dire, with other animals such as lions affected.

He says animals are straying from wildlife parks to seek food and water in nearby communities where they destroy crops and sometimes kill people.

Overcrowding in Hwange contributes to the destruction of vegetation. Farawo says the park can handle 15,000 elephants but currently has about 53,000.

Zimbabwe has one of Africa’s largest elephant populations. It seeks to be allowed to hunt and export more of them to ease pressure on the animals’ habitat and raise money for conservation.

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This article originally appeared on HuffPost.