ZIMPARKS CONCERNED AT THE RATE OF HUMAN WILDLIFE CONFLICT CASES IN ZIMBABWE.
Zimbabwe Parks and Wildlife Management Authority expresses concern at the high rate of human wildlife conflict cases involving mainly elephants especially in the farming season. No day passes without Zimparks offices receiving a report of elephants that stray into communities that reside adjacent wildlife areas. The just ended Christmas period saw communities dedicating more of their time to protecting their fields from elephants as opposed to spending quality time with their families.
Zimbabwe Parks and Wildlife Management Authority spokesperson Caroline Washaya-Moyo said one such area is Makore Village in Gokwe North where a total of 18 elephants were found in the community on the 27th of December. A report was quickly made to Zimbabwe Parks and Wildlife Management Authority and a team comprising Zimparks and Gokwe North rural district council, (RDC) was immediately deployed to manage the situation. Two professional hunters constitute the team that was deployed and will only leave the area when the elephants have been driven out.
She added that the community feared that their crops which are doing well were under attack, this following the rains that have been received countrywide. The availability of water almost everywhere is good a reason for elephants to travel long distances. Human life has been threatened and as a result the Authority has scaled up efforts to carrying out awareness campaign programmes with the communities on how to behave around elephants. The elephants are suspected to have travelled from Matusadonha National Park and follow the Sanyati River.
In a related development, on the 23rd of December in Bhatiti Area of Chikombedzi in Chiredzi South two cheetahs nearly attacked an 8 month old baby who was playing at her parents’ homestead. The cheetahs had earlier preyed on goats. The community was brave enough and armed with axes, dogs and bayonets, chased the two cheetahs.
The community successfully managed to separate the two cheetahs with one fleeing into Gonakudzingwa Farms while the other which had become aggressive was trapped in a tree, after killing a hen. After four hours the same cheetah returned to the area and the community was left with no option but to kill it in order to save their lives.
Zimbabwe Parks and Wildlife Management Authority rangers continue to work with Chiredzi South community in ensuring that their day to day lives are not distrupted.
Still in the same province two lions are reported to have attacked and killed three cattle in Chigwite Village, Save Valley conservancy. Zimbabwe Parks and Widlife Management Authority rangers and officials from Save Valley Conservancy are in the area to manage the problem. What concerns Zimparks about such attacks is that the owner of the cattle had made every effort to pen his cattle and the lions could not resist the tempatation.Predators such as lions, hyenas and cheetahs are devising new hunting areas opting to attack softer targets.
Zimparks urges communities to immediately report the presence of wildlife in their area to the nearest Zimparks offices, Zimbabwe Republic Police, ZRP or the local traditional leadership.
Meanwhile a Zambian poacher was shot and killed, during the Christmas period, at Nyamuomba sub camp in Rifa section Morongora, Hurungwe Safari Area. This happened when Zimbabwe Parks and Wildlife Management Authority rangers on patrol exchanged fire with four suspected Zambian poachers. The other three escaped. The case was reported to ZRP Chirundu.
The following items were recovered
· One shot gun
· 8 live rounds, 303
· One impala carcass
Investigations are continuing.