Government is concerned with the human-wildlife conflict escalating at the Midlands Black Rhino Conservancy in Kwekwe and is taking measures, a senior government official has said.
Farmers were reportedly allocated land within the conservancy, leading to conflicts between humans, livestock and wildlife.
Speaking at a sports gala held at the conservancy, Minister of State for Midlands Provincial Affairs Larry Mavima, who stood in for President Mnangagwa, said Government had started taking measures to promote the co-existence of wildlife and farmers as well as miners surrounding the conservancy.
“We are talking about a peaceful co-existence with wildlife and giving the animals their space while at the same time providing humans with well-designed resettlement schemes that do not interfere with wildlife,” he said.
Minister Mavima said farmers and miners will be asked to fence their places to prevent wildlife from falling into disused mines.
“We will liaise with farmers and miners to construct fences around their farms and mines,” he said.
“This will go a long way to protect livestock, wildlife and human lives and it will limit animal migration.”
Minister Mavima’s sentiments came amid calls by the conservancy authorities that mining and farming activities were being given precedence by Government over wildlife.
In an interview on the side-lines of the annual event, Midlands Black Rhino Conservator, Mr David Strydom said Africa Chrome Fields (ACF) a recently opened chrome mining company was the major threat.
“The ACF guys are destroying and devastating the environment as they carry out their mining operations,” he said. “Dams are now silted and are a now full of red soils making it difficult for wildlife to access water.
“Trees and vegetation in general has been completely destroyed by the mining activities by the company.”
Farmers have also been given land within the conservancy making it difficult to manage the wildlife.
“We are no longer able to control the game,” said Mr Strydom.
“We are losing animals on a daily basis due to poaching from the farmers and the miners. We are appealing to relevant authorities to assist by at least making the miners rehabilitate the vegetation by putting back trees.”
The 63 000 hectare conservancy also serves as an education centre with students from various tertiary institutions visiting the place for practical lessons.
The conservancy has only seven black rhinos left out of 50 last year, as a result of massive poaching.