Human-wildlife conflict escalates in Mbire

Source: Human-wildlife conflict escalates in Mbire | The Herald

Human-wildlife conflict escalates in Mbire

Mash Central Bureau

 Mbire Rural District Council (RDC) says this year they are experiencing an increase in wild animals coming from Mozambique.

As cases of human-wildlife conflict escalate, Mbire chief excutive offier Mr Cloudius Majaya, said they are also raising awareness on wild animal behaviour and how communities can co-exist with wild animals.

Five crocodiles have been eliminated in Mbire district following attacks on six people, two of them sustained serious injuries since the onset of the current rainy season.

Last week, 60-year-old Maines Matias from Kagokotoro village in Mbire was gored into pieces by an elephant while looking for water.

“We have killed five crocodiles for attacking six people, two of them fatally. Although there is no record of casualties to crocodile attacks we are trying to move people away from rivers,” he said.

“Most of our people earn their livelihood from fishing and gardening in the river banks of major rivers, Hunyani, Angwa and Zambezi.

“We are in the process of repairing an ambulance which will be based at Mushumbi Pools for use during fatalities caused by human and wildlife conflict.”

Following cyclones depression Ana which hit Mbire, Mr Majaya, said large crocodiles are migrating upstream to Mbire to avoid swampy areas.

Also large herds of elephants are migrating from Mozambique to Mbire due to successful anti-poaching efforts.

“Following successful production of small grains during the 2020/2021 farming season, farmers in Mbire have expanded their sorghum fields, encroaching into animal corridors,” he said.

“Our farmers received a handsome settlement on their sorghum crop and this year they have opened more land for agriculture, closing in on animal corridors.

“The crops have become grazing land for wild animals and people are easy prey. For those people whose livelihoods are along major rivers, wild animals also drink water in these rivers creating a conflict.

“We are alert to these emergencies and we transport victim to hospital and pay their medical bills.”

Mr Majaya said they are increasing the number of boreholes to remove people from river banks and ensure that water is easily accessible.

They have trained personnel in all the wards in Mbire and they are working closely with Zimparks in dealing with cases of human-wildlife conflict.

ZimParks spokesperson, Mr Tinashe Farawo, said last year 68 people were killed by wild animals while 79 were injured.

“Thirty cases were by crocodiles while 24 were by elephants. Meanwhile, 319 cattle, 27 donkeys and 429 goats were killed by wild animals.

“About 90 percent of these cases are from crocodile and elephant attacks.”