By JEFFREY MUVUNDUSI
UNITED Nations (UN) Resident and Humanitarian coordinator to Zimbabwe Edward Kallon says the increasing human-wildlife conflict in the country is worrying and must be urgently addressed.
This comes at a time the Zimbabwe National Parks and Wildlife Management Authority (ZimParks) recently revealed that it was concerned with the increasing cases of human-wildlife conflicts which have claimed 45 lives and left 40 others injured since January this year.
Responding to Matabeleland North director for Economic Development Godfrey Mukwakwami, who had outlined how climate change had caused problems at the Hwange National Park during a courtesy call to the Matabeleland North offices in Bulawayo, Kalloni said human-wild conflict was a cause for concern.
“The elephant population is so large from the statistics we are told. I think this is something that I will bring up when I am back in Harare to try and sensitise people.
“Something needs to be done definitely (to end human-wildlife conflict).
“There are a lot of challenges there because of Covid-19, as the park said they were not getting tourism and even revenue to run it was a problem.
“The park is still a huge catchment and they don’t have the resources and facilities to spot types of animals there. So, a lot has to be done,”Kallon said.
Presenting his concerns to Kalloni, Mukwakwami said there was insufficient food in Hwange National Park.
“We are having a bit of problems at Hwange National Park because of climate change.
“There is insufficient water and food within the conservancies and animals are now straying into human settlements.
“We are having many problems and that has led to human-wildlife conflict, as the animals are also destroying villagers’ crops,” said Mukwakwami.
He, however, said the government was trying to come up with a compensatory system for villagers who bear the brunt of human-wildlife conflict in the province.
“As you are aware, wild animal herds are controlled by conventions, we just cannot dispose of them.
“There are a lot of laws which protect those animals.
“There might be a need to have some study of some sort to see what can be done to address the human-wildlife conflict happening in those areas adjacent to Hwange National Park,” Mukwakwami said.
Kallon was on a weeklong tour of UN supported projects in Bulawayo, Matabeleland North and Matabeleland South provinces where he met various stakeholders. – Xinhua