Ending wildlife challenges at heart of Mbire Rural District Council
Daniel Chigunwe Herald Correspondent
The wildlife-rich district of Mbire in Mashonaland Central can benefit from the judicious exploitation of a variety of existing natural game resources, thereby achieving sustainable development.
Endowed with a wide range of wild animals in the thick forests stretching from Mahuwe to Kanyemba Border Post, the Dande region is perennially-haunted by nature as human-wildlife conflict forms the daily tales of the indigenous people.
Sad stories of humans being eaten by marauding lions, maize fields being destroyed by herds of elephants to tales of crocodile attacks in the Manyame River are common.
Mbire is also susceptible to natural disasters such as floods that destroy homes.
However, the incoming new Mbire council administration has a vision of transforming fortunes in the area through the astute harnessing of opportunities presented by wildlife to improve the standard of living for the locals through the promotion of tourism.
Mbire council chairman Mr Ishmael Chaukura, who has experience from the Campfire programme where he has accumulated a lot of awareness and knowledge on the importance of wildlife, highlighted the need to eliminate human wildlife conflicts in the next five years.
Mr Chaukura said his desire was to see the district benefiting from the available natural resources.
“The district is rich in wildlife and I am also the pioneer of the Campfire programme which was launched in 1989. As the incoming chairperson, my expectation is that the district must benefit from its natural resources under the Campfire programme,” said Mr Chaukura.
“It is important to understand that all wildlife-rich communal areas in the country have some challenges, especially in human wildlife conflict. We need to reduce the challenge by tackling problem animals.
“By embarking on a massive awareness campaign while working hand-in-glove with the Parks and Wildlife Management as well as partnering other stakeholders like African Wildlife Foundation and Utariri, we can achieve sustainable development as well as preservation of these natural resources.”
Mr Chaukura emphasised the importance of dealing with wildlife issues in the achievement of Vision 2030 and fighting hunger in the district.
“We also need to conduct effective problem animal control to ensure that we reduce losses of livestock killed by lions, hyenas and other predators,” he said.
“By so doing, the district will be in a position to support the vision of President Mnangagwa.”
Mr Chaukura said council was envisioning a Mbire with an improved road network to increase penetration in tourism spots, especially those that are less accessible during the rainy season.
“I am happy to announce that we now have equipment that we procured with funds that came from the Devolution Fund,” he said. “This will make road rehabilitation programmes easier.”
Mbire is a fast growing tourism destination and besides hunting of game, locals have an opportunity to benefit from fishing where they also sell cultural artefacts and other various traditional wares.
“Locals are already benefiting through the growth of tourism which is improving our local economy. We have many fishing camps in the Zambezi which provide market opportunities for traders. However, more can be done for sustainable development in the area,” said Mbire resident Mr Samuel Mtukudzi.
Mbire council has a 100-day target of drilling 17 boreholes under the Presidential borehole drilling scheme to end water supply challenges.