Spike in Human-Wildlife Conflict (Zimbabwe) 


Precious Manomano, The Herald via AllAfrica

Date Published
Environmentalists are worried by the surge in human-wildlife conflicts in the country saying there is a need to ensure peaceful co-existence that will provide a better life for people while protecting the environment.

Forty people have been killed after being attacked by wild animals across the country since January this year, while several others were injured.

Zimbabwe Environmental Law Association legal officer Mr Nqobizitha Ndlovu said communities and their leaders should come together and address these human-wildlife conflicts.

“We have noted that ZimParks have issues to do with wildlife conflict. It is now a national problem from 2016 up to date. There has been a rise of 200 percent in terms of people killed and in terms of livestock and also in terms of crop damage and loss,” he said.

Human-wildlife conflict in Zimbabwe, however, is largely attributed to a growing animal and human populations. The growing human population has led to diminishing natural habitat for wildlife while the protection measures in place have pushed up wildlife numbers.

Recently Zimbabwe Parks and Wildlife Management Authority (ZimParks) spokesperson Mr Tinashe Farawo said overpopulation of elephants and other surges in wildlife numbers is increasing the chances of human-animal contact and raises the chances that more people will be killed or injured by the animals,

The spike in human-wildlife conflicts is caused by deepening water shortages especially this dry season resulting in the animals destroying their habitats and moving into areas where people live.

Wild animals are not only a threat to people’s lives but they are also destroying people’s livelihoods.

Recently, two people have died while others were seriously injured after being trampled by a stray elephant in Chitekete in Gokwe.

Elephants accounted for 50 percent of the killings followed by crocodiles at 40 percent, and lions and buffaloes at 10 percent each.

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

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

Wildlife conservation is also under threat from poachers whose activities have become sophisticated over the years.