Lives lost in escalating human-wildlife conflict
from OBERT SIAMILANDU in Kariba, Zimbabwe
KARIBA – AUTHORITIES in Kariba are concerned at the riding loss of human life during conflicts with wildlife.
The latest casualty was documented on Tuesday when a hippo attacked to death a fisherman near the shores of Lake Kariba.
Max Mubaiwa, Kariba Urban ward 1 councillor, confirmed the tragedy.
The deceased has been identified as Alexander Chakabva.
“I am totally concerned about the rate at which our people are losing their lives due to human wildlife conflict,” Mubaiwa said.
“It is important to say that for the community, this is really unfortunate and regrettable. We do not wish to lose life as a result of wildlife,” Mubaiwa said.
A witness and fellow fisherman relived the attack.
“We were on our way home in the early hours of Tuesday when the incident happened,” he said.
“The hippo charged at us, we ran in different directions. In a few minutes I was home where I had to wait for my friend who did not arrive.”
“Little did I know that the hippo had ripped his leg and he was bleeding profusely. I only discovered this when I went back to the scene to check him. The time we arrived, he had lost a lot of blood. We took him to Nyamhunga clinic for help but unfortunately he died.”
A family in Magunje was recently forced to bury only the lower torso of their relative who was mauled by a hippo in yet another case of human-wildlife conflict.
Criswell Paratema (aged 33) was mauled to death while casting fishing nets along Nyaodza River in Kariba.
Kariba Rural ward 1 councillor, Lovemore Negande, said the issue of human wildlife conflict in Kariba, both water and land, needs to be addressed urgently.
He noted communities were not only losing lives but livestock to wild animals.
“Our people should also learn to live in harmony with wildlife as they are part of the pillar of the economy. We can only do this if we involve them in local wildlife related programmes,” Negande said.
The Wildlife Conservation Action Trust has introduced mobile bomas, which are predator-proof kraals made of canvas or tent material, to reduce human wildlife conflict.
– CAJ News