Luthando Mapepa Chipinge Correspondent
CONFLICT between wildlife and humans continues to escalate in Chipinge with the latter being at the receiving end of the former’s excessive aggression.
In the past three years there have been reports of wildlife trespassing and wrecking havoc in communities by killing people and destroying properties and crops.
In June 2015, a lion killed five cattle at Maronga near Chibuwe followed by the 2016 episode in which three lions were poisoned by disgruntled Chibuwe villagers.
The cats were begrudged for killing livestock.
The incident triggered a visit to the area by the Minister of Environment and Climate Change Cde Oppah Muchinguri-Kashiri with a view to address the issue of human-wildlife conflict.
In January 2017, about 10 cattle were killed by lions in Ngaone Communal Lands.
In May 2017, a three-year old lion was killed in Bangwe after it had devoured a cow and a number of goats.
In June this year, a man was fortunate to survive a buffalo attack in Chibuwe and sadly, last week, a 35-year-old woman was gored to death by a straying buffalo while fetching fire wood in the area.
Most, it not all of these animals are claimed to be straying from Save Valley Conservancy. Most of the trespassing animals get killed under Problem Animal Control (PAC) by a team from the Department of National Parks and Wildlife Management stationed at Chipinge Safari Area, Chipangayi.
According to World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF), human-wildlife conflict is “any interaction between humans and wildlife that results in negative impacts on human social, economic or cultural life, on the conservation of wildlife populations, or on the environment”.
Reasons that trigger the conflict include population explosion where people end up clearing new land for building homes and crop farming. Massive land clearance destroys land that might have been initially reserved for grazing or animal habitat.
For fuel and timber, migrants harvest wood from available forests leading to animals like hyenas, lions and leopards exposed without natural cover.
Also, climate change has led the valley of Chipinge to experience droughts that saw villagers selling cattle for as little as $50 in 2016.