HomeCommunity NewsChipinge villagers at the mercy of wildlife

Chipinge villagers at the mercy of wildlife

CHIPINGE — The invasion of the Save Valley Conservancy by some war veterans and Zanu PF officials has led to the scaling down of the electrical fence bordering the conservancy, forcing wild animals to escape.

BY CLAYTON MASEKESA

The stray animals are destroying crops and livestock belonging to villagers in the area.

According to the local MPs representing the affected areas, villagers are losing their livestock and crops.

Chipinge West MP Sibonile Nyamudeza and Musikavanhu MP Prosper Mutseyami, both from the MDC-T, said stray lions, elephants and buffaloes were wreaking havoc in Masimbe, Musikavanhu, Gumira, Mutema, Devure and Nyonga areas.

Mutseyami said the animals were coming from as far as Chiredzi around the Save Valley Conservancy to hunt for food.

He urged the authorities to act immediately to avert disaster.

“The madness started when some overzealous Zanu PF members invaded the game park. They scaled down the fence and now there is no barrier to stop lions, elephants and buffaloes from destroying people’s property,” said Mutseyami.

“The situation is so bad that people are losing their livelihoods. Those who invaded the enormous park have no knowledge of its maintenance, let alone the upkeep of the animals,” he said.

“At the moment, there is fear in Chipinge and villagers are not moving around freely, as they fear attacks. The responsible authorities should act now,” said Mutseyami.

Arda board chairman Basil Nyabadza, whose organisation is responsible for the conservancy, admitted that the stray animals had become a menace.

“We are aware of the situation. Those crops which were destroyed last year would be compensated,” he said.

He added that the fence was not scaled down by the Zanu PF members, but by some other people. “I would like therefore to appeal to the public to be responsible and stop vandalising the fence. Those who are found on the wrong side of the law will be prosecuted,” warned Nyabadza.

But Nyamudeza said the authorities were not doing enough to correct the situation.

“We have received promises about the so-called compensation but up to now, villagers continue to lose their livestock and crops. It will be difficult to recover lost property. It’s high time the cabinet intervenes,” said Nyamudeza.

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