2022 Binga Marathon: Raising awareness on human-wildlife coexistence

(Last Updated On: November 6, 2022)

SPORTS REPORTER

The 5th edition of the annual Binga Kasambabezi Marathon ended last week with organisers hailing the event as a success after attracting top runners.

Held under the theme, “Mitigating Human Wildlife Conflict through Sport Tourism: Encouraging co-existence with wildlife in Binga,” the sporting event attracted over 1000 participants including some of the country’s top runners, Isaac Mpofu, Mike Fokorani, Kelvin Pangiso and Lyno Muchena.

Among the high profile guests during the event was Zimbabwe’s representative to 1964 World Olympics Games held in Tokyo-Japan, Ole Robson Mulombe.

Ronald Siyamwamwata, Binga Kasambabezi Marathon secretary general, said the event had met its objectives of raising awareness of peaceful co-existence of people and wildlife.

“The marathon continues to grow in leaps and bounds thanks to all our partners,” Siyamwamwata said.

The International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW) came on board and sponsored the wildlife rangers half marathon category in order to raise awareness on coexistence of people and wildlife, Siyamwamwata said.

The addition of the wildlife rangers half marathon category proved to be one of the highlights for the 5th edition of marathon. A total of 22 wildlife rangers from the Zimbabwe Parks and Wildlife Management Authority (ZimParks) took part in the grueling half marathon (21km).
ZimParks’ Samson Dzingayi was the best runner, after crossing the finishing line first in the inaugural wildlife rangers half marathon category. In the female category of the wildlife rangers half marathon, Siphelile Shoko emerged the winner after shrugging off challenge from the other athletes to scoop the top prize.

Dzingayi said he came fully prepared for the rough terrain and the heat.

“I had to endure the scorching heat for a worthy cause. Our mission is clear, we are here in Binga to raise awareness on the need to protect our wildlife heritage,” Dzingayi said.

Guest of honour at the 2022 Binga Kasambabezi Marathon, Chief Director in the Ministry of Youth, Sport, Arts and Recreation Dr Benson Martins Dube paid tribute to the wildlife rangers and applauded the conservation organisations for supporting the event.

“We ought to co-exist, we need our wildlife and they need us too. All what is needed is living in harmony with nature,” Dube said.

Prior to the marathon, ZimParks and IFAW conducted anti-poaching awareness campaigns in selected villages in Binga District.

The campaigns provided an opportunity for community members to get critical information on how best to promote peaceful coexistence.

ZimParks says the human-wildlife conflict is one of the biggest conservation challenges.

It is estimated 45 people were killed by wildlife in the period January to August.

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