Over eighty elephants have been reported dead and hundreds more across Southern Africa as the effects of climate change continue to pose a threat to Zimbabwe’s ecosystem.

Whenever the phrase “climate change” is mentioned to the average person it means very little.

This is not only because the effects are not obvious, but also because it always seems to be some distant and foreign phenomenon that affects other continents.

But climate change is real and more-so much in Southern Africa.

This week we journeyed across Zimbabwe’s Matabeleland North  Province and came face to face with the devastating effect of climate change.

“I have watched this dam drying up growing up in the last 60 years, now there is not even a single drop of water here yet it was the dam that we used for our irrigation and provided water for livestock,” said one village head.

Mr. Fingson Majerimana Ncube The village head for Juchume in the Maitengwe area, located on the edge of Matabeleland South Province says water has become scarce in the community.

He, however, laments how human-wildlife conflict is aggravated as the battle for depleting resources rages on.

“Some of our livestock is attacked by the wild animals as they now come into our communities in search of food and water that has become scarce in the catchment areas. Our crops are often destroyed by elephants and cases of people being attacked are growing.”

Rangers in the village have devised a plan to pump water into a dam for livestock but the situation has become so dire that both domestic and wild animals are sharing the same sources.

Although pumping water provides a solution for the precious liquid challenges, it creates yet another problem.

The heat is so severe that the water dries up quickly leaving deadly muddy puddles that trap the animals, some get rescued, and others do not.

National aspirations prioritise wildlife conservation. It is only in moments like these when resources are scarce that human-wildlife conflict takes precedence. Of course, in many human designs, Mother Nature has the final say and it is usually a cruel verdict.