Lesotho - Environment

Much of the country has become denuded of its natural grass cover through uncontrolled grazing and rushing surface water. Related problems are severe soil erosion, soil exhaustion, and desertification. In response to these problems, the Highlands Water Project has the goals of controlling, storing, and redirecting water to South Africa. More than 3.5 million trees, mostly eucalyptus, have been planted as part of a gully control program, and for production of fuel and poles. Pure drinking water is available to 78% of the population in both urban and rural areas.

Unlike neighboring South Africa, Lesotho is not rich in game and other wildlife. The famous Basuto pony, of almost pure Arabian stock, reached its peak of quality and quantity around the turn of the century. After suffering a decline because of ruinous trading practices, overstocking, overgrazing, disease, and drought, the pony has begun to make a comeback through a selective breeding program and improved feeding methods. Other vanishing species, like the wildebeest and blesbok, have been reintroduced in areas where they formerly were numerous. Among the agencies with environmental responsibility is the National Environmental Secretariat of the Prime Minister's Office.

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