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Growing Population Worsening Human-Wildlife Conflicts

Zimbabwe Parks and Wildlife Management Authority has attributed the high number deaths caused by human-wildlife conflict to growing human population that is resulting in a scramble for food and water.

In 2021 and 2022, 66 and 68 people died as result of human wildlife across the country.

Zimparks estimates that nearly 400 people died of human-wildlife conflict in the past five years.

“Over the past five years, we have now lost nearly 400 lives and thousands of cattle, goats and donkeys as well as thousands of hectares under crops being destroyed, affecting people’s livelihoods.

“We are now working with conservation partners to reduce human-wildlife conflict, we are encouraging some of our communities to grow chilli to scare away elephants, we are encouraging communities to reduce movements at night, not to interfere with the movements of the wild animals and to give us as much information as possible on the movement of the wild animals and we react in the shortest possible time,” said Zimparks spokesperson Tinashe Farawo.

He added that ZimParks received almost 10 000 distress calls in the past five years and reacted to almost 8000 of them. They also created various platforms such as WhatsApp where communities could also report such cases and devolved power to eight regions and placed people in each region where there is wildlife to deal with the problem.

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International Fund for Animal Welfare, Landscape Conservation Director Mr Phillip Kuvawoga noted, there is need for proper land use, and land planning starting from the village level, ward level and district level.

“Land use planning is important for securing key habitats, we secure key migratory routes for elephants and other species that require huge land to survive, the pending results of the Kavango Zambezi (KAZA) Elephant Aerial Survey are expected to give tangible evidence to calls by Southern African countries for the international community to lift the ban imposed on the trade of Ivory,” he said.

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