VILLAGERS in Bikita East have engaged in a partnership with the Zimbabwe Parks and Wildlife Management (Zimparks) to address issues of human and wildlife conflict.
The Herald understands that so far the villagers have identified focal persons to compile and forward reports on marauding lions and other dangerous animals believed to be straying from the Save Valley Conservancy.
The animals are reported to be taking advantage of the weak perimeter fence to escape from the sanctuary.
Mr Aaron Magigwana of Ziki area said he recently lost six cattle to lions.
“It is very critical for us to work with Government and its partners to address this perennial headache,” he said.
“We need to complement each other in putting an end to this problem. We are working with many others and engaging Zimparks constantly to address some of the animal problems.
“Recently, six of my cattle were killed by a pride of lions which had found a new habitat at Dzivaguru Mountain. We can’t allow the human and wildlife conflict go on unresolved.”
Zimparks spokesperson Mr Tinashe Farawo said it was important for villagers to regularly report cases of human and wildlife conflict as and when they occur to stimulate quick responses.
“It’s pointless, for instance, for villagers to lodge their complaints on human-animal conflict with a local newspaper first.
“Reporting the cases to Zimparks assures quick reaction and removal of the stray animals by the department before crops and livestock are destroyed.
“Zimparks is working flat out to fix the problem. But basically positive cooperation is required from the affected villagers,” Mr Farawo said.
Speaking during a recent stakeholders meeting held in Bikita, the Minister of State for Masvingo Provincial Affairs Ezra Chadzamira urged communities to partner Government to find a lasting solution to the perennial human and wildlife conflict in the area.
“It’s the responsibility of every one of us here to fight human and animal conflict. Do not just blame Zimparks, we must alert them on all the straying wild animals.
“We need to work together as communities and Government in addressing our problems,” said Cde Chadzamira.
This year alone, over 20 cattle and other livestock in Ziki communal lands were reportedly mauled by stray lions from Save Conservancy.