35 people killed by wild animals between January and May

By Tichaona Kurewa

ZIMBABWE’S ballooning elephant population has resulted in an upsurge of human wildlife conflict, with 35 people having been killed by wild animals since the beginning of the year.

The international ban imposed on the trade in wildlife products and species in Southern Africa has seen Zimbabwe’s elephant population ballooning to around 84 000, exceeding the country’s carrying capacity of 45 000.

This has resulted in the animals frequenting human settlements in search of food and water, but with dire consequences after 35 people were killed by animals between January and May this year.

The figures were confirmed by Zimbabwe Parks and Wildlife Management Authority (Zimparks) Spokesperson, Tinashe Farawo.

“In the early hours of Saturday morning, a man was trampled to death by an elephant, this is the 35th life since January 2022 due to human-animal conflict. It’s sad that more lives continue to be lost. We are encouraging our communities to minimise movements at night, they must try to move during the day because more than 50 percent of the incidents are being recorded during the night,” he said.

In Victoria Falls, two people were trampled by elephants within a space of one week with the latest victim being killed this Saturday.

Victoria Falls Combined Residents Association, Secretary General, Nguquko Tshili noted the need to find a lasting solution to the problem.

“A number of measures must be taken; Zimparks must erect a fence around the residential areas to prevent wild animals from encroaching into residential areas and increase patrols in the residential areas. The City Council must also improve lighting and residents should not move at night,” said Tshili.

The local authority has since called for an all stakeholders meeting to address the issue.

Meanwhile, the elephant which was terrorising residential areas in Victoria Falls has been killed much to the relief of residents.