Wildlife and human conflict escalates in Gokwe
as wildlife lives cost more than human lives….
Wildlife and human conflict is on a rise with 50 villagers reportedly injured in recent weeks in the Midlands Province .The most affected areas are found in Gokwe North with occurrences in Chizarira, Chirisa and Nyaminyami game reserves.
Most cases are prevalent due to climate change induced droughts .
“The human wildlife conflict has increased in Gokwe North because most people stay close to wildlife migratory corridors.These animals usually come from surrounding game parks and villages most affected are Mareka, Mazenge, Vumba, Maririme and Manyuli” ,said a villager Eddison Mankuni from ward 28 under Chief Chireya.
“ Wild animals such as elephants , hyenas, and jackals have invaded human settlements.These animals straying from Chirisa, Chizarira and Nyaminyami game parks have become a menace especially in ward 28” ,added Mankuni.
Elephants are destroying villagers crops and pausing a major threat to human lives .
“Last week a villager was attacked by a stray elephant as he was guarding his field and he died on his way to hospital .Elephants are destroying our crops and no action taken by government when animals kill villagers, but when villagers kill an elephant Parks officials are swift to take action and beat villagers to pulp .It seems elephant lives matter most than human lives.
Fourteen people have been killed by wild animals across the country since the beginning of the year , said Zimbabwe Parks and Wildlife Management Authority (Zimparks) said early this year.
According to a research conducted by Zimbabwe Environmental Law Association (ZELA),human -wildlife conflicts across the country have increased by 300 percent 615 to 1598 between 2016 and 2021. In 2021 a total of 72 lives were lost.
Villagers urged Zimparks should construct clinics in communities from the sales of ivory as this will give villagers an option to ferry the maimed or injured villagers to a clinic for medical attention .
Another villager Anna Mapisa from Gokwe North said they were living at the mercy of wild animals .
“Travelling at night is now dangerous because we are living in a jungle as wild animals can attack .Elephants can be very viscous if corners from previous village , it will be extremely hard to contain it on the next village .We are not getting any compensation as victims from wild animals attacks” said Mapisa.