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Saturday, June 22, 2024

Government ready to assist communities reduce human-wildlife conflict

Story by Mhlomuli Ncube

GOVERNMENT says adequate measures are being put in place to combat human wildlife conflict cases which are expected to increase due to the Elnino-induced drought.

There is consensus among experts and players in the wildlife sector on the effects of drought among populations residing next to wildlife sanctuaries, hence the need to come up with sound mechanisms to reduce cases of human-wildlife conflict.

“In such moments as these human wildlife conflict basically goes up. This is because there is less water, there is less forage available for wildlife and on the other side communities didn’t harvest as much as they could so there is hunger in the communities. This drives wildlife into communities in search for water and for forage in the greener areas probably being irrigated by the people and at the same people venture into the park illegally and eventually poaching goes up,” said Painted Dog Conservancy Operations Director, Mr David Kuvaoga.

Government says a masterplan that involves awareness campaigns and contingency plans is already in place to deal with human-wildlife conflict.

“We believe in the harmonious coexistence between humans and wildlife. At entry level, we are educating communities that the animals are theirs and they should look after them. Where conflict occurs we have mobilised to avoid losses of life and destruction of property which in turn impacts negatively on livelihoods. We will be in the alert to ensure all departments work together in sharing ideas especially in a drought year where cases of HWC always increase,” noted the Minister of Environment, Climate and Wildlife, Hon Sithembiso Nyoni.

The competition for food and water between humans and wildlife has resulted in loss of life and property.

Government is, however, working on a Human-Wildlife Conflict Fund that will see victims being compensated.

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