BY SILISIWE MABALEKA A herd of marauding elephants has invaded Mangwe district in Matabeleland South, stomping through villages and destroying household property.
This comes at a time when Zimbabwe, alongside other African countries, is pushing for the lifting of a ban on elephant trading to control the country’s growing elephant population.
In a case of human-wildlife conflict, Slima village development coordinator, Richard Nkomo told Sunday Southern Eye that they were always left counting losses, and recording poor harvests after because of damage caused by elephants.
Nkomo accused the Zimbabwe Parks and Wildlife Management Authority (ZimParks) of failing to capture the trouble elephants.
“We have tried countless times to report to ZimParks to capture those animals but they did not act,” Nkomo said.
“Elephants continued destroying our crops and instilling fear in us. We can’t withstand them, we are unable to drive them from our fields.”
A number of villagers said their livelihoods were threatened as they survived on communal farming.
“We appeal to the ZimParks to do their best and take away those animals from our village as they did not only destroy our crops but are a threat to our lives,” another villager Brutus Moyo said.
- Chamisa under fire over US$120K donation
- Mavhunga puts DeMbare into Chibuku quarterfinals
- Pension funds bet on Cabora Bassa oilfields
- Councils defy govt fire tender directive
ZimParks spokesperson Tinashe Farawo said the solution towards ending human wildlife conflict lies in elephant culling, saying the country’s jumbo population was unsustainable.
“We understand the challenges that communities are facing.
“Most of the villagers are losing crops, these animals also destroy their livestock and are killing people as well,” Farawo said.
He said the animals are also destroying their own habitat.
“It is very sad and unfortunate hence we appeal to the international community to allow us to at least unlock some values so that our communities benefit,” he said.
“We sympathise with communities and we continue to push that communities derive something that can benefit them from wild animals.”
According to Farawo, the country’s elephant population has risen to over 84 000, more than twice the 45 000 it can sustain resulting in human animal conflict.
Culls were abandoned several years ago following the promulgation of the Convention on Trade in Endangered Species, which imposed a global ban on ivory trade.