BY SIMBA SITHOLE
VILLAGERS in Mbire district have expressed concern over extensive crop damage by elephants in the drought-ravaged area where they are losing crops to marauding wild animals.
Ward 16 councillor Louis Nyamadzawo said they receive more than five reports of human-wildlife conflict per day.
“The ward is experiencing a serious elephant menace in their fields and daily we are receiving more than five cases. It is unfortunate that elephants are not easily scared off
the fields using our traditional ways of beating drums or lighting huge fires. Community members end up running for their lives, leaving elephants to destroy crops,
particularly sorghum,” Nyamadzawo said.
Agriculture deputy minister, who is also Mbire legislator, Douglas Karoro called on the Zimbabwe Parks and Wildlife Management Authority (Zimparks) together with Mbire Rural
District Council to respond to people’s calls.
“We are appealing to Zimparks to respond to the people’s distress calls. There are elephants all over Mbire and people cannot go about their daily business under such frightening environment,” Karoro said.
“Children can no longer go to school because of lions and elephants. We are also appealing to Mbire Rural District Council to strengthen its problem animal control programme.
We do not want a situation where they will start to mete jungle justice on these animals.”
This came as a 52-year-old Mbire woman from Kanyemba under Chief Chitsungo was last week trampled to death by a jumbo after using a footpath with her colleagues, Fungai Chiwapura (age unknown) and Rashiwe Nyamuparadza (65), who fled after coming across a herd of elephants.
One of the elephants charged at Sarah Hungwa (52) of Kasamuriwo village and trampled her to death.
Mashonaland Central police spokesperson Inspector Milton Mundembe confirmed the incident and warned people in Mbire to desist from using footpaths that cut through forests.
“I can confirm that a female adult was trampled by an elephant last week in Mbire after coming across a herd of elephants in the jungle while using a footpath on her way home from Angwa business centre. We are warning people in Kanyemba to desist from using footpaths in the jungle since they risk coming across wild animals which can kill them if disturbed. They must use wide common roads to save their lives,” Mundembe said.