Cattle farmers in parts of Masvingo province are reportedly burning down tracts of land in attempts to destroy tick that is affecting their livestock.
This was revealed to the media recently by Masvingo environmental management agency provincial manager Milton Muusha who said this year there was a new unique cause of veld fires – ticks that were behind the outbreak of theileriosis among herds.
“There is an outbreak of a tick-borne diseases affecting cattle called theileriosis and farmers are burning their pastures in order to try and control the disease.
“Although the veld fires have not caused any loss to property but it has done serious damage to the natural habitat of our fauna and flora,” Muusha said.
He said that over 12 000 hectares of land have since been destroyed by veld fires in the province with Chiredzi recording the highest incidence in which 5 287 hectares were destroyed in total.
Masvingo district lost 4 047 hectares while 3 183 hectares were destroyed in Gutu district.
The renewed high incidence of veld fires comes at a time EMA seemed to be winning the war against the environmental disasters through its publicity and education campaigns.
EMA and other government departments are currently working together in raising awareness against veld fires with 104 community members in Masvingo having received training in fire-fighting and the communities have also been urged to put up fire-guards in areas they live in.
Veld fires remain a great environmental challenge which triggers unprecedented harm to the country’s natural resources, forests, animal habitat and in some cases leading to the loss of life and property if veld fires were not controlled.