Eighteen elephants, due to be culled because the intense drought in southern Africa has left a national park in Swaziland without food, could be flown to zoos in the US. It is hoped that moving them will give endangered rhinos more chance of survival.

The three male and 15 female elephants from parched Hlane national park are being held temporarily by a local conservation group pending a court case brought by US animal welfare groups concerned about their export.

“As drought conditions throughout Swaziland worsen and food sources become scarcer, the zoos are eager to relocate these animals to provide them a healthy life in a safe home."