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Thursday, May 23, 2024
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Government pledges to find lasting solutions to human-wildlife conflict

Story by Gay Matambo

Government has pledged to find lasting solutions in communities affected by human-wildlife conflict including Chiredzi District.

Communities in wildlife-rich areas around Chiredzi District have been living between a rock and a hard place due to constant battles with animals that encroach into their villages in search of food and water.

This has attracted the attention of government with the Ministry of Environment, Climate and Wildlife engaging the Ndali community in Chiredzi East this Wednesday.

“The animals encroach into our villages and destroy our crops such that we end up with nothing to feed our families, but we are happy that government is working towards assisting us, “said one of the community members.

“We want to benefit as well from these wildlife resources found in our area. Those who own the conservancies should assist in developing our area through the construction of clinics, schools, and roads,” another added.

“Chiredzi is a dry area, and we mostly survive on livestock farming but due to the wildlife surrounding us, sometimes the hyenas and lions eat our goats and cattle, and we are left with nothing. We hope solutions to these challenges will be put in place,” noted another.

Environment, Climate and Wildlife Minister, Honourable Mangaliso Ndlovu also took the opportunity to assure the community that government will guarantee communities living around national parks benefit from wildlife resources.

“When we look at Zimbabwe, we have now the second largest elephant population in the world after Botswana, but we have a fast-growing giraffe population, lion population and buffalo. We therefore need as a country to come up with people-driven solutions. This is a programme that we have initiated to talk to the communities, and we are going to collate all the views that have come through and discuss them with the President with our recommendations then guide on the way forward. We are also looking at how communities are benefitting from these wildlife resources found in their areas,” he said.

Other government initiatives to resolve human-wildlife conflict which include the Gonarezhou Veterinary Game Cordon Fence Project were also topical.

Masvingo Minister of State for Provincial Affairs and Devolution, Honourable Ezra Chadzamira said, “Government and the President have responded to your call for help that is why we are here. Last year, we commissioned the Gonarezhou Veterinary Game Cordon fence in Mhlanguleni and now the Minister of Environment is here to listen to your concerns and also educate this community on the government thrust on this pertinent issue.”

Similar engagements are set to be conducted in Zaka and Bikita districts.

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