TENDAI BHEBE IN BULAWAYO
The Zimbabwe Environmental Law Association (ZELA) has raised the red flag over an increase in human wildlife conflicts in the country.
ZELA legal officer, Nqobizitha Ndlovu, who spoke at the Zimbabwe Alternative Mining Indaba last week on Friday, said the human-wildlife conflict was now a national problem.
“…The issues to do with human-wildlife conflict are now a national issue.
“It is now a national problem because there has been a massive rise of 200% in terms of people killed and in terms of livestock and in terms of crop damage and loss occasioned by human-wildlife issues from 2016 to date,” Ndlovu said.
He said communities and their leaders and government should come together and address these human-wildlife conflicts.
“It is high time that the communities, the government, parliament and all other key stakeholders begin to address the issues to do with human-wildlife conflict if indeed as a country we are going to achieve food security,” Ndlovu said.
He said crocodiles and elephants were the leading wildlife in conflicts with humans.
“Having looked at statistical analysis of trends in terms of human-wildlife conflicts it was actually noted that crocodiles are a leading species in terms of both people killed and people injured.
“So crocodiles come first followed by elephants,” Ndlovu said.
“And surprisingly hippos are close by on number three and there is buffalo on number four.
“So hippos and crocodiles know that it’s an issue of water scarcity and elephants together with Buffalos it’s usually an issue of crops and agricultural activities.”
Human-wildlife conflict in Zimbabwe, however, is largely attributed to a growing human population that has led to diminishing natural habitat for wildlife.