Herald (Zimbabwe)

Human-wildlife conflict leaves 13 dead, 6 injured

Fortunate Gora Mash West Correspondent


Thirteen people died while six others were seriously injured in attacks by wild animals this year in the northern region of Zimbabwe.

This also led to authorities killing some of the animals as part of efforts to contain human-animal conflict in communities in and surrounding wildlife sanctuaries.

In an interview, Zimbabwe Parks and Wildlife Management Authority spokesperson Mr Tinashe Farawo, said of the 13 people who died, seven were attacked by crocodiles while others died from attacks by hyenas, elephants and hippopotamus.

“It is quite worrisome that of this 13 people seven were attacked by crocodiles. These creatures are much active in water and an attack by crocodiles means people are having contact with water bodies,” he said.

“We encourage people to approach water bodies with suspicion and caution. As parks authorities we are very worried about these deaths and we will continue to educate communities and conduct awareness campaigns as preventive measures.”

This year, Mr Farawo said, Zimparks received 65 cases of dangerous animals threatening human life and were able to respond to 51 cases.

“In our response, we either capture the animals and translocate them to other areas or eliminate those that are dangerous. However, we failed to attend to all the reported cases because of limited resources,” he said.

Human wildlife conflict has become rampant across Zimbabwe and most of the cases involve elephants and are common in communal areas during cropping season.

Elephants are responsible for up to 75 percent of all wildlife crop damage across Zimbabwe.

According to the Campfire Association, in Zimbabwe 88 lives were lost due to human wildlife conflict in communal areas while 5 000 livestock and 6 000 hectares of crops were damaged during the period 2010-2015.