HomeLocal NewsHuman-wildlife conflict deaths worry govt

Human-wildlife conflict deaths worry govt

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BY KENNETH NYANGANI
GOVERNMENT has expressed concern over rising fatalities due to human-wildlife conflicts.

The deaths are mainly resulting from a growing “unsustainable” elephant population.

Environment, Climate, Tourism and Hospitality Industry minister Mangaliso Ndlovu said elephants were also dying at Hwange National Park because of dwindled habitats.

He said the country, with a holding capacity of about 45 000 elephants, had over 90 000 jumbos.

“When you look for best places with good conservancies for buffaloes, lions, giraffes and elephants, you look at Africa and more specifically southern Africa. But these conservancies have their own limits, resulting in human-wildlife conflicts, which are on the rise in the country,” Ndlovu said during a question-and-answer session after a post-Cabinet briefing on Tuesday,.

“As a region, we have close to 65% of the world elephant population, with Botswana leading, followed by Zimbabwe. We are concerned with the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (Cites)’s decisions because we have been punished (by) the decisions that are not scientifically based, but politically-motivated.”

In 1989, Cites banned the international trade of ivory, but later partially lifted the ban allowing Zimbabwe to sell its ivory to China and Japan, albeit under strictly-controlled conditions.

Zimbabwe and other African countries have been campaigning for the lifting of the ban and also allowing of elephant culling to manage the growing jumbo
population.

“Wildlife should be able to finance itself, it does not make sense that we have a holding capacity of 45 000 elephants, while we are currently sitting to 90 000 elephants,” Ndlovu said.

“The growing population is between 5% and 8% annually and we are not benefiting. If we fail to address the human-wildlife conflict we are going to see a catastrophe in affected
communities.”

Zimbabwe will host the African Elephant Convention Conference at Hwange National Park from May 23 to 26 this month to lobby for the lifting of the ivory trade
ban.

  • Follow Kenneth on Twitter @KennethNyangan1

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