Human wildlife conflict claims 50

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FIFTY people have died after being attacked by wild animals across the country in the first seven months of the year, while several others were injured as cases of human-wildlife conflict continue to increase.

Most fatalities were recorded in communities near wildlife habitats including Hwange, Binga, Kariba and Chiredzi with elephants accounting for 50 percent of the fatalities.

Zimbabwe Parks and Wildlife Management Authority (ZimParks) spokesperson Tinashe Farawo told the Daily News yesterday that the fatalities and attacks were a significant increase, compared to the same period last year where about 30 people were attacked.

“So far, 50 people have died as a result of human and wildlife conflict.
“They were attacked by animals including hyenas, lions, crocodiles, buffalos and elephants.
“The elephants accounted for 50 percent of the deaths.

“In addition, 40 people have been injured and some of them seriously to the extent that they can no longer provide for their families.
“The increase in human and wildlife conflict is a result of overpopulation where we have more wild animals encroaching human settlements sometimes in search of food and water,” Farawo said.

He added that there was an urgent need for a depopulation exercise in order to reduce the number of people succumbing to human and wildlife conflict.

“The number of wild animals is continuously increasing while on the other hand the number of people is also increasing.
“The country has not changed; it has remained the same amid the population increases.

“For example, Hwange National Park has a carrying capacity of 15 000 elephants but currently it has between 45 000 and 53 000 elephants and that is way beyond the park’s carrying capacity.

“The over populated elephants can be a threat to humans and even other species in the ecosystem,” Farawo said.
In 2018 ZimParks moved 100 elephants from the Save Valley Conservancy to Rifa Safari area in Hurungwe to depopulate the highly populated conservancy.

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