BY NHAU MANGIRAZI
RESIDENTS of Kariba have threatened to approach Parliament to register their complaints over the increasing baboon population in the area saying the apes were now a menace, especially in the residential areas.
The petition is being coordinated by human rights activist John Chirinda of Patsaka Trust.
Chirinda said the problem required urgent attention as it was affecting the tourism sector through damaged lodges.
“We want to be informed of what [Zimbabwe Parks and Wildlife Management Authority] Zimparks has done to reduce baboons population including efforts by Municipality of Kariba. Who is accountable to damage of properties, homes, windows and doors, where women and children are being terrorised? There is need to evaluate wildlife damage to tourism sector,” Chirinda told NewsDay on Friday.
Zimparks director-general Fulton Upenyu Mangwanya recently told Tourism minister Priscah Mupfumira that there was need for collective effort to curb baboons’ menace in Kariba.
“The issue of baboons needs a holistic approach by all stakeholders. We are calling upon Environment Management Agency (EMA) to help solve the challenge as baboons are flooding Kariba town because of poor waste management systems. These animals get food dumped near houses and nearby areas,” he said.
EMA provincial spokesperson Munyaradzi Nhariswa said although solid waste management was the most pressing issue confronting urban local authorities in Mashonaland West province, a lot needed to be done.
“The challenges range from continued use of dumpsites, absence of refuse bins at strategic intervals, failure to adhere to solid waste collection schedules and lack of waste recycling activities,” Nhariswa said.
Kariba council spokesperson Gabriel Maziofa said: “Education on wild animal behaviours and movements of dangerous animals including injured lions and elephants must be enhanced. Unfortunately, these strategies do not work for baboons.”
Maziofa also said a warden used to control the baboons, but Zimparks withdrew the service.
“Zimparks should use 0,22 fire arms in the township which has a small range, but these are hardly available. Furthermore, there are legal challenges against use of firearms in human settlements resulting in baboons overrunning the settlements. This has resulted in stiff competition for food that has seen them break into homes, stealing from people around the townships,” he added.