Zimbabwe Parks and Wildlife Authority (Zimparks) has revealed that 50 people have been killed by wild animals so far this year with elephants accounting for the bulk of the cases.
This is a one hundred percent increase from figures last year Zimparks spokersperson Tinashe Farawo told CITE during an interview on The Breakfast Club.
“We have lost at least 50 lives since January which is more than a 100 percent increase, the whole of last year 2019, I think we lost about 30 or so due to human-wildlife conflict,” said Farawo.
“Of the 50 lives that we have lost almost 50 percent they are human-elephant conflict, the other thus your crocodiles, I think we have lost two or three people to lions and one to a Buffalo and so thus how bad it is.”
He said 40 others have sustained injuries, with some having permanent injuries.
Farawo added that they have also recorded an increase in distress calls from communities at a time when they are also affected by the Covid-19 induced lockdown.
“Between March and June we received about 1 100 distress calls from communities where we were supposed to go and react to problem animals where we have cases where elephants invaded human settlements destroying people’s crops,” he said.
“We have lions marauding around people’s cattle pans, we have hyenas, so of all the 1 100 cases that we have received over those 3-4 months we only managed to react to about 50 percent of those which means we dealt with about 600 of 1 100 or so cases not because we do not want to react to those problems because primarily thus our job but in some cases we didn’t have resources or man power to react to those problems.
“This has affected communities, this has resulted in people’s livelihoods being destroyed, this has resulted in some of our people unfortunately losing their lives and some injured with permanent disabilities,” said Farawo.
He added that if the lockdown continues the situation will be dire as the parastatal will fail to even pay salaries of rangers who look after animals.
“Thus how dire the situation is, if the situation goes like this I think we will be failing to even pay for rangers’ salaries of rangers and you know what that means because these people will be on the ground looking after these animals,” said Farawo.