Veld fires rage through Matopos

Veld fires have destroyed public toilets and National Parks and Wildlife Management staff cottages in the Matopos National Park.

One of the cottages destroyed by fire.
One of the cottages destroyed by fire.

Workers at Matopos told The Zimbabwean last week that uncontrolled veld fires continue to wreak havoc in the park. This reporter witnessed several park structures including public toilets razed by veld fires.

“Veld fires are really a problem here especially during the summer season. Last year we lost two thatched staff cottages located in the middle of the park,” said one of the parks workers, who spoke on condition of anonymity.

He blamed the increasing number of veld fires in the park on game poaching as well as the absence of fire guards.

“Previously we used to have well maintained fire guards to control veld fires. Now those are no longer maintained. The veld fires are also very prolific in the hills and areas bordering local communities, where the locals deliberately start fires to drive the animals from the park into the community so they can hunt them,” said another worker.

Meanwhile, tourists visiting the park are now forced to use the bush to relieve themselves as some of the public toilets have been destroyed by fire.

Over the past years ,extensive parts of the country including timber estates, game parks and conservancies, farms and pasture lands have been destroyed by uncontrolled fires. The Parks spokesperson Caro- Washaya- Moyo did not respond to questions sent to her via e-mail.

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