Villagers and farmers living around the Save Conservancy in the Middle Sabi area are being hit by more wild animals wandering from the protected area into their fields and villages because the game fence is in poor repair.For decades, wild animals from the conservancy have been wandering through gaps in the fences, sometimes cut by poachers, into the surrounding farming areas, causing serious conflicts with the communities.
Manicaland chief animal health inspector Mr Roy Dube said the high prevalence of foot and mouth disease in Chipinge was mainly a result of the interaction between livestock and wild animals that cross over into communities
“Save Conservancy, is supposed to be fenced right round with a double fence but that fence is no longer solid and buffalos are crossing over into the cropping area and damaging crops throughout the year. Buffaloes are also responsible for the transmission of foot and mouth disease and they have been known to cause sporadic outbreaks in this area of Middle Sabi, neighbouring areas of Chibuwe, Kondo and Maronga. They have even been noticed upland near Chipinge town,” he said.
“There are also some old lions and those with cubs that look for easy prey and for them it is very easy to get out of the conservancy and cross the Save river. Elephants have also been sighted in Chibuwe. Not only do these animals damage crops, they have claimed human lives and attacked livestock.”
He said Zimbabwe Parks and Wildlife has made a commitment to refurbish the perimeter fence and help curb the growing conflict.
Mr Dube added that a new perimeter fence would reduce losses being recorded by both Government and farmers.
“Farmers are losing out in terms of crop and livestock destruction while Government is also losing a lot of money in terms of vaccines for diseases. The reconstruction of the fence will be a great saving. Farmers will also be able to trade their livestock in clean areas since for now they can only sell in Chiredzi, some parts of Masvingo and Checheche where there is an abattoir,” he said.