Human-wildlife conflict claims 72 Mr Tinashe Farawo

Precious Manomano Herald Reporter

Seventy-two people were killed while several others were injured by wild animals across the country since January, as cases of human-wildlife conflict escalate.

Most of the fatalities were recorded in communities near wildlife habitats where animals increasingly come into contact with humans while in search of food and water.

Elephants and crocodiles accounted for 90 percent of the killings followed by lions and buffaloes.

In an interview, Zimbabwe Parks and Wildlife Management Authority (Zim- Parks) spokesperson Mr Tinashe Farawo said overpopulation of elephants and other surges in wildlife numbers were increasing chances of human-wildlife contact.

As a result, ZimParks was educating people on how they can reduce or prevent attacks.

He discouraged people from moving at night and provoking the animals.

“Water and food shortages are the main reason why animals move a lot, searching for these. There is also over population, which can only be addressed by translocating the animals to less populated areas,” said Mr Farawo.

“We are carrying out awareness campaigns to educate people on what they are supposed to do to protect themselves from wild animals.

“We also encourage people to minimise movements at night to avoid wild animals because they move a lot during the night.”

Mr Farawo added that there was need to translocate the wild animals to less populated areas but the exercise requires a lot of resources.

To minimise the risk of attacks, Mr Farawo discouraged citizens from provoking animals and taking photos while close to them.

He also urged citizens to treat animals as economic opportunities, adding that communities need to react quickly and report cases where the creatures where in danger. Mr Farawo also emphasised that people should move away from water bodies especially during this rainy season to save themselves from attacks by crocodiles and other dangerous animals that live in water.

“We have seen a number of attacks that resulted in loss of human life and we want to encourage communities to be careful and stay away from water bodies to avoid loss of life,” he said.

Some wildlife conservation organisations have been conducting human and wildlife conflict educational programmes for their respective target groups throughout the year.

There are six animal species that are classified as dangerous in Zimbabwe.

The animals are listed in the ninth schedule of the Parks and Wildlife Act and they are buffaloes, elephants, hippos, leopards, lions and rhinoceros.

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