20 killed by wild animals in 2018: Zimparks
THE Zimbabwe National Parks and Wildlife Management Authority (Zimparks) has said a total of 20 people were killed by wild animals this year, which is a decrease from 40 that died as a result of human-wildlife conflict last year.
A total of 198 cases of attack by crocodiles, elephants, hippos, buffaloes and lions were reported this year resulting in 20 injuries and 20 deaths.
Last year there were 346 cases, 30 injuries and 40 deaths.
Zimparks spokesperson Mr Tinashe Farawo said the wildlife authority was committed to reducing cases through awareness campaigns about humanwildlife conflict and swiftly responding to reports.
He said Zimparks attended to more than 80 percent of reported cases.
Crocodiles were the major killers, said Mr Farawo.
“We’re working with communities on human-wildlife conflict and the trend in terms of conflict has been going down because of efforts that we have been putting to educate communities on the dangers wildlife can pose to human life.
“Last year we lost 40 people and this year we lost 20. The major problem animal is the crocodile. Human beings can actually outpace the croc but we’re saying people must always be on the lookout and try by all means to stay away from water bodies,” said Mr Farawo.
A total of 34 cases of attack by crocodiles were reported this year, causing 16 deaths and nine injuries while last year 58 people were attacked resulting in 25 deaths and seven injuries.
The cases are mostly in the Zambezi Valley and around Masvingo Province, Mr Farawo said.
Forty people were attacked by lions this year but with no deaths and only one injured, Mr Farawo said.
In 2017 four people were killed and two injured from 94 attacks by lions.
Elephants attacked 37 people this year causing two deaths and five injuries which is a decrease from 56 cases, 13 deaths and nine injuries last year.
Mr Farawo said most of the people attacked by elephants were either handlers or tourists who try to get closer to the animals which sometimes get irritated.
“We’re also saying to tourists stay away from wild animals as they can be dangerous. No matter how domesticated they are, animals are animals. It’s unfortunate that lives have been lost over the years but we are confident that we will continue with the downward trend.
“We don’t have enough resources but have managed to attend to more than 80 percent of the cases reported from communities. Our concern is that people have also lost livestock,” said Mr Farawo.
Hippos attacked 26 and killed one while buffaloes also killed a person with 13 cases of attack being recorded this year.
Last year there were also seven cases of people attacked by leopards and all of them were injured.
A total of 105 goats, 67 head of cattle and 17 donkeys were killed by wild animals this year while Zimparks shot and killed 40 problem animals, Mr Farawo said.
He said while Zimparks’ mandate is to protect wildlife, the authority also has a role to protect human life.
Over the years Zimparks came under fire from communities living adjacent to national parks after losing their livestock and human life due to human-wildlife conflict.
Mr Farawo said protection of human life was top priority.
Zimparks either translocates or eliminates problem animals when they pose danger to human beings.