Victims of human-wildlife conflicts are set to receive compensation for injuries sustained during attacks, loss of property and loss of agricultural produce.
Government will also recompense families that lost their loved ones due to the conflicts.
Environment, Water and Climate Minister Cde Oppah Muchinguri-Kashiri said this while addressing a gathering for the joint commemorations of World Wildlife day, Africa Environment Day and Wangari Maathai Day in the Africa Unity Square in Harare yesterday.
Last year, 35 people and 230 livestock were killed in 90 cases of lion and leopard attacks.
“The ministry is putting together a fund we are trying to grow to make sure that we compensate those that would have lost their livestock and also to assist families that would have lost their dear ones,” said Minister Muchinguri-Kashiri.
“We are making every effort to ensure that there is a balance, not just protecting animals but also protecting the people and also ensuring their existence with these wild animals bears fruit.”
Minister Muchinguri-Kashiri said most cases of wildlife poisoning were being recorded in communities that are disgruntled over their failure to benefit from co-existing with animals.
She said Government is making strides in protecting wildlife, which is a source of tourism revenue.
This year’s World Wildlife Day ran under the theme ‘Big cats and predators under threat.’
Zimbabwe has the second largest elephant population in the world at 85 000, after Botswana which has more than 100 000 elephants.
Zimbabwe’s lion population has grown from 500 a decade ago to about 1 500.
This makes the country one of the few countries in the world harbouring a steady population of the big cat, which is slowly becoming an endangered species globally.
Minister Muchinguri-Kashiri said it is important to raise awareness on the human related threats facing big cats in the country.
She said her ministry is also in the process of drafting a human and wildlife policy document.
“The document will highlight the support needed for national action and conservation strategies to be implemented in order to serve these iconic species and ensure the livelihoods of people are not compromised,” she said.
In an interview, Zimparks Deputy Director General (Conservation), Mr Geoffreys Matipano reiterated the importance of the commemorations.
“The third of March is also the day when CITIES Convention on International Trade and Endangered Species of Flora and Fauna was formed,” said Mr Matipano.
“This day is important to the general public in that it’s like the day we do extension work conservation campaigns and awareness in the country,” he said. In recognition of Africa Environment day, the Ministry of Environment, Water and Climate is working with various ministries to organise clean up campaigns that will take place nationally, every Friday.