Politics & General News

Chinese mining activities threaten wildlife ,flora & fauna to extinction

Mining activities,(mostly Chinese companies ) along the Great Dyke in Midlands Province are forcing baboons to relocate to nearby settlements as mining activities continue to encroach into their habitats, water resources and food chains.This continuous expansion of mining expeditions in the area has resulted in baboons trooping up in residential areas scavenging for food,ransacking pots and climbing on roof tops tampering with satellite dishes.
Most baboon troops have changed their feeding and movement patterns due to the invasion of their habitats by prospecting and working miners. In Shurugwi area just outside Gweru ,babbons used to drink water from nearby streams but due to incessant explosive blasting at nearby mines along the water sources,the troops have found refuge in the nearby settlements like Ironsides villages as their only source of water and scrounging ground. In the residential village ,the baboons are now feasting on avocados and vegetables,and sometimes raiding pots or even running away with unwashed cooking sticks and pots.
The bushes near most of the mining areas used to be playing fields for most baboons but due to mining and cyanide leaching at the mines,baboons have suddenly relocated and invaded nearby human settlements in search of food,water and peace where they find safe drinking water from buckets and dishes used by local women to store the precious liquid. In Boterekwa Escarpment near Shurugwi town a water source for baboons has been invaded by miners and blasting and use of chemicals such as mercury and cyanide have poisoned the water source.
Most of the baboon habitats along the Great Dyke in Midlands Province are now resonating with booms and thunderous explosions,jack hammer drilling and Chinese heavy vehicles and mining equipment rolling by making it inhabitable for the peace loving wildlife. Indigenous fruit trees like mutohwe,muzhanje which were sources of baboons food sources are being felled to pave way for Chinese mining ventures.Local residents in the affected areas expressed horror at the magnitude of environmental degradation caused by Chinese mining activities.
” Baboons are targeting orange ,avocado and other fruit trees in our yards due to lack of indigenous fruit trees in the nearby forests which have been recklessly cut down by miners .Baboons now jump on our roof tops and playing with our satellite dishes and sliding to the ground using cables.The baboons are now so daring that they sneak into our houses stealing food from refrigerators and kitchens. ” lamented Yvonne Manana from Ironsides.
Zimbabwe Parks and Wildlife Management Authority spokesperson TinashecFarawo has been on record alledging that the population of baboons in Zimbabwe has increased in the past years noting the increase in human and wildlife conflict.
” We are saying our animals are overpopulated and they end up straying from protected areas into communities causing damage and loss of livelihoods “,said Farawo.
Babbons are fast losing their habitat due to overgrazing, mining,agricultural expansion,irrigation projects and overall human settlement growth is a threat to the species.According to the National Geographic website ,baboons are opportunistic eaters fond of crops,become destructive pests to many African farmers.

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