Cabinet through the Human Wildlife Conflict Relief Fund has sought to avail measures to control human wildlife conflict rampancy as Zimbabwe tops casualties regionally and aims to foster biodiversity conservation.
Wildlife population growth against the subsequent pressure on biodiversity has in turn resulted in human wildlife conflict, especially within communal areas with close to fifty fatalities recorded this year.
“The elephant population meanwhile, is now estimated at more than 85 000, with other species also showing significant growth.The consequent competition for limited resources often results in wildlife attacks on humans, especially in communal areas and towns that are close to national parks, safaris, forestsand other protected areas.” The Minister of Information Publicity and Broadcasting Services Monica Mutsvangwa said.
Furthermore, “This year alone, as of August 2022, forty-six Zimbabwean lives have been lost to human-wildlife conflict, with the most affected being Mashonaland West Province, where 19 people were killed, mostly in Kariba.” The Post Cabinet Brief Chairperson emphasised.
The fund complements government efforts in fostering for biodiversity conservation through vast projects implemented by government and some of it’s partners as Zimbabwe
“Management Authority (Zimparks), is implementing interventions to reduce human-wildlife conflict. The measures include, conservation education in the use of barriers; translocation, sterilization and selective culling of wildlife; approved hunting quotas; and fencing to restrict or control the movement of wildlife.” The Senator also said.
Cabinet also noted that , “Regionally, Zimbabwe has the highest number of deaths from human wildlife conflict. For example, in Botswana there are significantly less deaths, although they have more elephants at 204 000. This is because they have a smaller human population and the settlements are sparsely populated.” The ZANU PF Secretary for Administration said in her government position.
Furthermore, “ Besides the fatalities, human wildlife conflicts affect communities in other ways, including the following: People being maimed, disabled, or sustaining serious injuries;2. Loss of food security due to consumption and destruction of crops by animals;3. Loss of livestock to predatory wild animals;4. Destruction and damage of property and infrastructure; and. Potential exposure to zoonotic diseases.” Mutsvangwa highlighted
The Fund is based on a self-financing model dependent on CITES allocations, donor support crowd funding initiatives, campfire allocations, donations with the fund expected to be extended to livestock loss among other measures.