Zim chalks 60 deaths due to human-wildlife conflict

Cases of human-wildlife conflict are on the increase as the country has recorded 60 related deaths since the beginning of the year.
This has remained a major concern for communities co-existing with wild animals, as 50 other people have sustained serious injuries and
according to figures released by the Zimbabwe Parks and Wildlife Management Authority (ZIMPARKS), more than 1500 distress calls have been received from different communities during the period under review.
Zimparks Public Relations Manager, Tinashe Farawo noted that most of the cases occurred during the dry season.
“This year alone we have lost about 60 people in human-wildlife conflict and nearly 50 have been injured,” he said.
“Most of the cases have been reported primarily during the dry months of the year, which means starting from September, October until the onset of the rainy season we do not have enough food in parks so the animals move from the protected area to communities.”
During his recent visit to Hwange and Binga, Environment, Climate, Tourism and Hospitality Industry Minister, Honourable Mangaliso Ndlovu revealed that a human-wildlife policy is on the cards, with public consultations set to commence soon.
“We will soon be embarking on the outreach programme to gather views as we do our human-wildlife policy.
“We have strong lessons from this trip on some of the practical experiences of our communities. I remember yesterday passing a huge head of elephants, I think they were more than 80, and just two kilometres down the road there are communities. You can imagine this is their everyday life.”
Apart from posing a threat to villagers, the wild animals, in particular the elephants, have also contributed to habitat loss.
According to conservationists, elephant over-population remains a major headache for the wildlife-rich Southern African countries.