20 killed by wild an­i­mals in 2018: Zim­parks

Sunday News (Zimbabwe) - - Front Page - Leonard Ncube Vic­to­ria Falls Re­porter

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.

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