Battle with wildlife continues

elephants_zimHWANGE - Villagers in Hwange West are now having sleepless night as they resort to fires, blow horns and Vuvuzelas to scare away wild animals destroying their crops.
(Pictured: As the elephant population escalates, villagers are increasingly at risk)

Communities have sent an SOS to the National Parks and Wildlife Management Authority (NPWMA) hoping that urgent and swift action will be taken to control the problem animals.

Even for urban farmers in the resort town of Victoria Falls, fires and Vuvuzelas are being used to scare away elephants. Guns shots have even been heard in Mkhosana Township.

“Failure to chase them away (elephants) is disastrous as hectares of potential maize harvest have been destroyed by these elephants. So we rather loose sleep at night attending to fires, beating drums or anything that makes noise to scare these animals away,” said Nkosilathi Moyo from Monde village under Chief Mvutu.

He added, “Baboons are also a menace but these raid the fields in the day light and their impact is not as huge as that of big animals like elephants.”

With the elephant population now reaching over 100 000 in a country that has

the holding capacity of only less than 45 000, the human-elephant conflict is set to claim more human lives and peoples livelihood.

NPWMA officials who spoke on condition of anonymity said the use of guns by

residents to scare away the elephants was illegal.

“As parks we are aware of the problem and we react accordingly. However, our hands are tied by Convention of Trade in Endangered Species (Cities) that states that the country can only harvest 500 elephants annually for trophy hunting. We are also banned from trading in ivory and with the population of the animals growing uncontrollably, the country is in a catch 21 situation,” said a parks official.

The official also said that NPWMA rangers had been to other areas in the district were they had shot some elephants but added that the numbers were too few to make an immediate impact.

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