The chairperson of the Community Areas Management Programme for Indigenous Resources, Samson Kachulu, said the water shortage in the national park was putting a strain on wildlife, forcing them to venture out of their comfort zones. “Villagers have spotted elephants and buffaloes roaming in areas like Chilimba, Gwembe and Siananzundu. Some of the animals have been seen along the Zambezi River, an indication that they are looking for water,” said Kachulu.
He said most villagers were afraid of the elephants, as they have been responsible for trampling crops and killing people in the past.
“We are appealing to the National Parks to move in before the animals kill people,” he said.
Kachulu said his committee had also alerted the council over the animals. He explained that under the Problem Animals Act, the council had powers to deal with such situations.
“The council is allowed to scare the animals because they pose a threat to the villagers’ lives,” he added. Hwange National Park, the country’s largest game reserve, has been badly affected by water and food shortages. Last October, a number of elephants and buffaloes reportedly died due to thirst and heat-induced stress. The animals are competing for water at the few remaining pans in the park.
To make matter worse, last year veld fires destroyed grass and edible trees, making it necessary for animals to travel as far as neighbouring Botswana in search of food.Post published in: Environment