Story by Gay Matambo
COMMUNITIES in Chikombedzi area of Chiredzi are living in fear following revelations that three people from the area were killed by animals this year.
Wild animals have become a menace in areas surrounding the Gonarezhou National Park which include the Davata area of Chikombedzi with elephants and wild pigs destroying crops and posing danger to humans and livestock.
“This year three people were killed by elephants in Samu village and in Davata. The wild animals have been causing a lot of problems for us and we hope the authorities will intervene,” said a worried villager.
“Our area is a dry region and we mostly survive on livestock farming. The wild animals are killing our goats and cattle. We are left with nothing then hunger strikes,” said another.
Another concerned resident added, “Last year I put sorghum on my two plots which are near my homestead. I did not get anything because wild pigs came and ate all my crops. We hope that in future there will be some form of compensation to the victims of human and wildlife conflict.”
Zimbabwe Parks and Wildlife Management Authority spokesperson, Mr Tinashe Farawo confirmed that they have received several distress calls from the area.
“We are receiving a number of distress calls from communities across the country and Chikombedzi is one of them. We encourage communities to give us much information as possible and we react within the shortest possible time,” said Farawo.
“We have different animals which move around and we are encouraging our communities to try to minimise movement at night because most of the attacks occur at night. We are also discouraging communities from herding their livestock in game parks,” he added.
This comes at a time when the Cabinet has approved the establishment of the Human-Wildlife Conflict Relief Fund for victims.