By Idah Mhetu
THE Zimbabwe National Parks and Wildlife Management Authority (Zimparks) has said a total of 20 people have been killed by stray elephants since January this year.
This was revealed at the launch of the anti-poaching campaign in Borrowdale, Harare Friday, by Zimparks spokesperson Tinashe Farawo.
Farawo said the problem has been worsened by elephant overpopulation in the Hwange National Park.
“20 people have been killed by elephants since January,” said Farawo.
“This is due to an increased number of elephants resulting in the elephants invading human community settlements in search of food and water, leading to conflict.
“20 is a huge number. No life is worth losing especially in the human-wildlife conflict.”
Farawo further said Zimbabwe has the second largest population of elephants in the world which has led to the elephants fleeing the national parks in search of food and water.
“We have the second largest population of elephants in the world, sitting at 85 000. This is against a carrying capacity of about 40 000. Hwange alone is sitting at 50 000 against a carrying capacity of about 15 000,” he said.
The campaign is aimed at making people understand the effects of poaching on the economy and the environment.
Zimparks, Zambezi Society and United States-based WildAid have roped in popular Hollywood actress, Danai Gurira, musicians Jah Prayzah and Selmor Mtukudzi, TV personality Rumbidzai Takawira, in their anti-poaching campaign.