By Paidashe Mandivengerei
THIRTY three people have perished while fifteen have been injured as human-wildlife conflict escalated this year Zimbabwe Parks and Wildlife Management Authority has revealed.
This figure marks a significant increase from last year’s 20 fatalities that were recorded.
According to ZimParks 60% of the cases involved elephants while the remaining 40% were killed or maimed by hippopotamus, hyenas, crocodiles and other wild animals.
To date no human has been killed by a lion.
In a interview with NewZimbabwe.com, ZimParks spokesperson, Tinashe Farawo said the authority was actively conducting awareness campaigns in order to educate peoples on how to handle wild animals as they have no chances of surviving after retaliating.
“Humans have no capacity to retaliate when attacked by wild animals they are just desperate people in communities who are losing their relatives, crops and livelihoods, these people are being impoverished.
“We always try to ensure that people are educated on handling the wild animals,” Farawo said.
“People should also learn to respect these animals so they don’t create problems, many people have been injured and are now crippled.
“We create many awareness campaigns, we have a department which focuses on people’s grievances where wildlife is concerned to make sure that we live in harmony with the animals.”
Farawo went on to add that human wildlife conflicts were prevalent in areas that were in close proximity of game parks.
“We have four main elephant ranges that is North West Matabelend which covers Hwange then South East lowveld which covers Gonarezhou, Masvingo, Chiredzi and the Sebungwe which covers Gokwe, Matusadonha in Kariba and Zambezi which is close to parts of Kariba and Mbire areas, that’s where the animals are and incidents are more common,” Farawo said.