A buffalo rests with her newborn calf born at a zoo in Pretoria, South Africa. Representational photo.
A buffalo rests with her newborn calf born at a zoo in Pretoria, South Africa. Representational photo. Reuters file photo

Drought-hit Namibia said on Friday it was putting 100 wild buffalo up for sale to reduce the animals' population, in a bid to alleviate pressure on diminishing grazing in its parks.

The semi-arid southern African country said the animals will come from Waterberg Plateau Park, a national reserve located in central Namibia.

"The auction is... to reduce pressure on the grazing vegetation in the park," environment ministry spokesman Romeo Muyunda told AFP.

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"This is also (an) intervention to manage the impact of drought in that park," added Muyunda.

The auction was first announced through adverts placed in local newspapers on Thursday, offering 70 female and 30 male animals.

"The buyer will bear all the risks during and after the capture," said the advert.

Last year the government offered for sale around 1,000 animals including 600 buffalo, 150 springboks, 60 giraffes and 28 elephants.

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Meanwhile, the government has launched an investigation into the deaths of 16 buffalo whose carcasses were discovered in a river inside the northeastern Bwabwata National Park on Wednesday.

"The buffalos are suspected to have drowned on Tuesday, possibly while fleeing from predators," the environment ministry said in a text message to the media on Friday.

Three years ago Namibia had a buffalo population estimated at around 7,000.