Vic Falls residents lose sleep over stray wild animals

By Nokuthaba Dlamini

The Zimbabwe Parks and Wildlife Management Authority (Zimparks) is struggling to control wild animals from straying into communities near their habitats due to resource constraints and overpopulation at national parks.

This comes after a Victoria Falls man was crushed to death by an elephant that strayed into the resort town`s central business district.

Victoria Falls residents are not at the mercy of the jumbos which now roam the streets on a daily basis.

Zimparks spokesperson Tinashe Farawo said they were aware of the increasing human-wildlife conflicts but lacked resources to contain the numbers.

Zimbabwe has over 85 000 elephants, according to national aerial survey.

“Our parks are overpopulated and we don’t have enough resources to look after all the animals and that is why human-wildlife conflicts are on the rise,” he told CITE.

“The trend worries us because as of now, 24 people have been killed either by elephants, lions, buffalos or crocodiles his year.”

Due to resource constraints, Zimparks has had to rope in private professional game trackers and hunters to track down troublesome animals.

Ward 8 councillor Joseph Dzangai said residents are now living in fear of wild animals.

 “In my ward, I have old people who have been doing irrigation near Mkhosana Clinic and just this week, a herd of elephants destroyed the fence and ate all the vegetables including chilli pepper,” Dzangani claimed. 

The irrigation has been serving most of the residents and hotels.

In ward 10, eight and six, residents said baboons often vandalised their asbestos roofing to gain entry into their homes and their children have been severely attacked.

“Baboons open doors and if it finds a woman or a child in the house, it just attacks them before stealing and fleeing the scene,” said one resident.

Farawo added that they have received reports of baboons causing havoc in Hwange, Chirundu and Kariba.

He said last month in Hwange, they had to apprehend and translocate some baboons which a now a menace in the mining town.

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