Human-wildlife conflicts threatening tourism: ZimParks 

Source: Human-wildlife conflicts threatening tourism: ZimParks -Newsday Zimbabwe

ZimParks executive director Fulton Mangwanya

Competition for space between human beings and wildlife is threatening the country’s tourism industry, a senior government official has said.

Zimbabwe Parks and Wildlife Management Authority (ZimParks) executive director Fulton Mangwanya said wildlife and wild-lands were the backbone of the country’s tourism.

Speaking during the Mid-Zambezi Region chiefs’ biodiversity conservation indaba in Kariba recently, Mangwanya called on all stakeholders to combine forces for the protection and preservation of both natural and cultural heritages.

“Today due to the ever-growing population in Africa and the whole world, we have noted with concern the competition for space between humans and wildlife,” he said.

“As a result, landscapes are increasingly fragmented, hence disrupting free movement of wildlife, leading to more frequent human-wildlife conflicts.”

He said the situation had been made worse by destruction of forests, unplanned and uncontrolled veldfires which alter the wildlife habitat.

“Our tourism is wildlife-based, hence the need to guard jealously our heritage for the present and future generations,” Mangwanya said.

He appealed to traditional leaders and local authorities to ensure that there is enough space for wild animals and come up with futuristic plans to take conservation initiatives to a higher level.

“As a country, Zimbabwe is endowed with rich biological diversity and is one of the world’s torch-bearers when it comes to conservation of wildlife and other natural resources,” Mangwanya said.

“This of cause is strongly supported by the socio-economic benefits which are closely linked to our philosophy of sustainable conservation.”

Speaking at the same event, African Wildlife Foundation (AWF) country director Olivia Mufute called for conservation of wildlife in Zimbabwe.

“Wildlife is the backbone of the economy, hence the need to conserve what we have,” she said.

The indaba, organised with support from AWF, was meant to share experiences on human and wildlife conflicts, challenges faced in resources protection as well as sharing information on emerging issues in biodiversity conservation.