Zimbabwe Parks and Wildlife Management Authority (Zimparks) is concerned with the increasing cases of wildlife conflict which have claimed 45 and left 40 others injured since January this year.
As a result, awareness campaigns are still conducted with ZimParks on the ground educating people on how they can reduce and prevent attacks and improve relations between human beings and wildlife.
Zimparks spokesperson Mr Tinashe Farawo said overpopulation of animals, human- animal conflicts were now a major challenge in areas that are adjacent to the parks where animals are causing havoc.
He said conflict between people and wildlife is becoming one of the biggest conservation challenges in Zimbabwe.
“We are losing people from wild animals. People should be benefiting from wildlife but people are killed so we want to lobby the international community. Those who are living adjacent to the parks are the mainly affected. “Overpopulation of elephants and other surges in wildlife numbers is increasing the chances of human-animal contact and raises the chances of people killed and injured by the animals. We are doing a lot of programs and awareness campaigns educating people about the dangers of wild animals and how to react and protect them,” he said.
Mr Farawo expressed concern over increasing cases of human-wildlife conflict and the loss of lives. He added that human wildlife conflict was usually caused by wild animals that stray to human settlements in search of food and water especially during drought seasons.
Conflicts were rampant in areas that are close to national parks such as Save Conservancy, Gonarezhou, Hwange and Mana Pools National Parks. Recently, a Zaka couple and their son were left wounded after they were mauled by a hyena in Bota communal lands.
Last year 72 people were killed while several others were injured by wild animals across the country and most of the fatalities were recorded in communities near wildlife habitats where animals increasingly come into contact with humans while in search of food and water.
Some wildlife conservation organisations have been conducting human and wildlife conflict educational programmes for their respective target groups.
Elephants accounted for half of the killings, followed by crocodiles at 40 percent, with lions and buffaloes at 10 percent.
There are six animal species that are classified as dangerous in Zimbabwe. These animals are listed in the ninth schedule of the Parks and Wildlife Act as buffaloes, elephants, hippos, leopards, lions and rhinoceros. Herald