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HomeNewsHuman Wildlife Conflict Stats Raise Debate On Compensation Of Victims

Human Wildlife Conflict Stats Raise Debate On Compensation Of Victims

ZimParks spokesperson Tinashe Farawo has called for a Constitutional provision which will cater for the compensation of victims of human-wildlife conflict (HWC)

HWC is becoming a major challenge in Zimbabwe. Increasing populations of both humans and animals lead to competition over resources, leading animals to stray into settlements.

This has led to many deaths in recent years. According to statistics, at least 68 people were killed last year in HWC while around 40 have been killed this year alone.

Farawo said the time is now to expedite the call for compensation as more people continue to fall, victim.

“Over the past five years we have done research to say so much has been destroyed along with other things. What standard are we going to use to grant compensation to victims? As it is, no one talks about crop destruction but it is happening and people are losing a lot,” Farawo said.

“As it stands we can’t say someone has lost a relative or some crops and we can give them that much. Our Parks and Wildlife Management Act has no such provision. Painful as it may seem but that is the reality and we are pushing for a Parks and Wildlife Act which addresses all that,” Farawo said adding that the management board is incapacitated to move in and compensate victims.

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Zimbabwe Environmental Lawyers Association (ZELA) Executive Director, Mutuso Dhliwayo said HWC is increasingly becoming a serious threat to the survival of many endangered species, but also to food security, community livelihoods, and sustainable development.

“In Zimbabwe, our understanding of the breadth and depth is hampered by the lack of an effective reporting system and a national framework to effectively document and respond to HWC,” he said while giving feedback on a research on the Resilience Anchors (RA) program which is meant to increase the capacity of communities to sustainably protect and manage community-based natural resources and the wildlife economy in order to mitigate future shocks and stresses, (i.e., building community resilience).

According to the findings in the report, between 2016 and 2021, HWC cases reported increased by a magnitude of 293%, (from 619 to 1598).

A national review shows that HWC cases are more prevalent in Mashonaland West, Mashonaland Central, Masvingo, Midlands and Matabeleland North provinces.

Factors contributing to increases in HWC include growing wildlife populations (>carrying capacity), loss of wildlife habitats (e.g., deforestation, settlement growth), human population increases, vandalism of game reserve fences, and climate change, among others.

Acting USAID Mission Director Ramses Gauthier said they will continue to support holistic, community-led approaches that will address human-wildlife conflict for those living near biodiverse landscapes

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