All I Want For 2018!

2018 seems to be a promising year, with so many possibilities.  Yes!!!!!!  Whilst we have a new government, we still have the same old challenges that require addressing to bring change to the people of Zimbabwe.

My heart broke on the 31st of December 2018 when I woke up to very  graphic, disturbing pictures of  a man who had been attacked by a lion in the Mbire  district of Zimbabwe. Its is said a picture says a hundred words. If these don’t, I don’t know what will. Be warned this is not a  pretty sight. One can only imagine the trauma  this man’s family has been exposed to after waking up to see their father an able bodied man, whom they loved dearly,had said good night to and had probably made plans for the next day  being reduced to nothing or rather pieces of meat by a lion ( this I say with all respect).

In 2017, it is reported  34 lives of people and more of livestock were lost to wildlife in Zimbabwe. Of these lives many of them were bread winners to families, fathers, mothers, wives, husbands, daughters and sons, well the point I am trying to make is that they were someone dear to someone. Despite the statistics of who has died what made me ponder  is what the government has not done for the families who were unfortunate enough to experience what befell them. In some areas where campfire is active ( sadly there are not many) the family of the injured is given 300 dollars while that of the victims who have died is given the same. Here lays the question, is this enough or can the government do more?. will they do more ? The animals that cause so much havoc are the animals said to belong to national parks. The irony of the system is that the communities are forced to pay fines when their animals graze in protected areas but the parks do not pay when their animals cause havoc in their lives.

Of the 34 that were killed 21 were mauled by crocodiles, two by lions. 393 cases of human and wildlife conflict have been reported in the year 2017. This could have been 393 deaths or more. Can the government work on technological upgrade that will allow national parks to track their animals. It’s not only the life of people that’s I am worried about, but the welfare of the wild animals is also critical to safe guard if Zimbabwe wants to boost its tourism

All I want for 2018 (well for the 1st part of 2018) can our new government look into developing a human wildlife conflict compensation scheme that will assist families of the victims of the HWC. Historically, humans have battled with wildlife in Zimbabwe and regarded wild animals as vermin, crop-raiders, livestock predators or vectors of disease. A change of attitude came about in the 1960’s as the aesthetic and economic values of diminishing wildlife populations became apparent. In recent years, much progress has been made to reduce human-wildlife conflict with methods far more creative than simply shooting ‘problem’ animals. The conflict mitigation methods included costly investments in tsetse fly control, electric fence construction, planting of chilli peppers to deter elephants and sophisticated game management with harvest quotas to keep animal numbers at optimal carrying capacity. In many areas around the country without sophisticated barriers or conflict mitigation measures, wild animals cause significant damage. For example, in one communal area near Hwange in 2002 elephants destroyed up to 90% of people’s crops and trampled 21 people to death. However, CAMPFIRE (Communal Areas Management Programme for Indigenous Resources) programs in the area that helped local communities to reap financial benefits associated with living with dangerous animals on their land primarily by selling strictly regulated quotas of animals to foreign hunters and then dividing the proceeds within the community, thus easing the economic burden of living alongside wildlife.

I think I can t not stress this enough there need to for the realignment of the Parks and wildlife act. We are still being guided by an act that was passed in the colonial era and there have been so many changes up to date for us to still manage our wildlife based on colonial era principles. Times have changed, and so have governments, we have a new constitution but we are still stuck on using that of the colonial. While we demand change in Zimbabwe with the new government, let it be change on all fronts including the wild enchanted forests of Zimbabwe.

In short:

  1. We need a compensation scheme in Zimbabwe for the human and wildlife conflict victims
  2. Government need to invest more in technologies that allow us to track animals.
  3. We need to align our parks and wildlife act with the constitution of Zimbabwe of 2013.

By  Nobuhle the girl who loved  PJ the vulture.

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