Facing the severe and lasting drought that has crippled much of Eastern and Southern Africa, the Zimbabwe Parks and Wildlife Management Authority, or Zimparks, has made the drastic decision to sell of some of its valuable, and now very thirsty, animals, CNN reported Tuesday.
In a statement Monday, Zimparks announced its plan to "destock its parks estates" by selling wildlife, in an effort to help preserve the scarce water and grassland for the animals that will remain and to raise funds for their care, CNN reported.
Zimbabwe's parks make up 13% of the country's total land, according to the Zimparks website, and are home to elephants, zebras, giraffes, lions and rhinoceroses, among other species.
The decision to sell off some wildlife is likely worrying to many animal rights advocates. "The statement indicated that Zimparks intends to sell to private wildlife reserves," according to CNN, "but conservation groups will be watching closely to see if any animals appear destined for hunting concessions."
A Zimparks spokeswoman said there is no exact number for how many animals will be sold, telling Reuters it "depends on the bids we receive."