Mining vs Wildlife: my opinion
Mining has brought about a lot of Yes, I am a fan of development, development is good I have traveled to the concrete juggles and have admired what development had created for them. however more often I find my self wanting to hear a bird beside the crows found in city centre garbage, to see the different species of indigenous trees and the culture related to them and of cause the various stories of wildlife. I love wildlife growing up in the city centre made me realise nature makes life beautiful, with nature there is something new to learn every day and nature communicates with us.
My greatest fear is that with the development taking place in the world, with the different mining activities happening nature will disappear, nature will stop talking to us wildlife will disappear. The 6th extinction is real and it’s not all about climate change . Its our activities in the name of development that are causing it.
There is a famous saying that inspires me as a conservationist, “We did not inherit the land from our fathers but we borrowed it from our children “. In my last year working with the ZELA I have had the chance to visit mining communities and listen to their grievances about how much the mining companies have violated their human rights, how much the pollution has resulted in a lot of medical issues, how livestock has been lost to the open pits and the frequency of veld fires that have come about as they clear land for the mining activities. The components of sustainable development according to the Zimbabwean constitution has three pillars, the social, ecological and economic. although we are striving in the economic component what about the ecological, should we establish a balance among the three.
(I probably sound like a broken record but I love wildlife is at the core of my heart) mining does not only affect the human life but it has negative effects on the wildlife of the affected areas. I am going to list the obvious the implications are however far more reaching and it would be great to do scientific research to establish them.
In the process of clearing land for mining activities we are taking away habitat for the wildlife. habitat loss is one of the prime challenges that has been noted to be affecting wildlife populations in Zimbabwe. there also is a lot of habitat fragmentation as result of mining activities. habitat fragmentation has serious implications on the wildlife population that include genetic complications.
It has been on the increase in areas where mining is occurring near protected areas especially by the ASSM, they need food to eat while they work as a result more times than often the wildlife fall prey the hungry workers.
As the miners move closer in to the animal territory there are increased incidents of them bumping into each other in most cases it results in the loss of both human and wildlife lives or one of the two. human and wildlife had increased as the wildlife is now competing the miners in mining areas for resources and space as.
With the above mentioned it leaves with a few unanswered questions, is extracting the minerals worth it if the price we are paying is with lives of our wildlife, our legacy from our fathers meant for our children.
Have you ever wondered what the dinosaur looked like when you read or hear stories about the them, or the Dodo the only flightless bird that last went extinct? I would love the next generation to be able to experience the beauty we have in wildlife today. Now this is a question to any ordinary citizen of Zimbabwe, is mining worth the lives of people that have been lost? is it worth the wildlife we are driving to extinction? Why can’t we find a balance between the two and wildlife sustainability and development? What policy measures can be put into place to develop a balance? Is the legal and policy framework in Zimbabwe sufficient enough to safeguard the future of our big 5 in Zimbabwe and other fauna and flora?
For now, I am going to leave this here.
By Nobuhle the girl who loved Julius and PJ the vultures.