Michael Magoronga, Midlands Correspondent
SEVENTY-ONE people lost their lives due to human -wildlife conflict between January and December this year amid concerns that such cases are on the increase.
Zimbabwe Parks and Wildlife Authority (Zimparks) spokesperson, Mr Tinashe Farawo said crocodiles and elephants account for the bulk of the fatal attacks.
“Elephants and crocodiles account for most of the deaths although here and there we have incidences that involve other animals such as buffaloes and others. This year alone we recorded 71 deaths while 50 people were injured by wild animals compared to about 60 deaths and 40 injuries last year,” he said.
Mr Farawo said Zimparks is carrying out awareness campaigns in affected areas to reduce cases of human- wildlife conflict.
He urged people to report the presence of problem animals in their areas at the nearest police station or Zimparks offices.
“We should appreciate that the elephant herd for example continues to grow but the land remains the same. At the same time human population is also growing hence the increased cases of human- wildlife conflict,” said Mr Farawo.
Zimbabwe is home to more than 100 000 elephants against a carrying capacity of about 45 000.
Mr Farawo said the population of elephants keeps growing making it difficult to monitor and track them.
He said wild animals usually get into human communities in search of water.
“Naturally elephants will move into human territory in search of water and food. When they do so, their interaction with human beings increases and cases of people being killed by them increase,” he said.