The government has established a fund that will be used to compensate victims of human wildlife conflict which continues to affect communities that are adjacent to wildlife areas.
Cases of human wildlife conflict have been on the increase of late and the government has set aside $1 million seed money from live elephants’ sale.
The Minister of Environment, Water and Climate, Cde Oppah Muchinguri-Kashiri said more money is still required to ensure that the fund is self-financing, adding that arrangements are being made to hold consultative meetings with stakeholders to determine the criteria to be used before the victims can be compensated.
“Within Zimbabwe, we have introduced command agriculture and we have aid. We will not allow buffalos to go into the farms. Where farmers have large tracks of land, we are willing to sell these buffalos at a cheaper price to raise more funds for compensation. This $1 million, we want it to grow so that we are able in a small way to compensate but we still need to consult stakeholders,” she explained.
President of the Safari Operators Association of Zimbabwe, Mr Emmanuel Fundira applauded the initiative, saying it reflects the seriousness of the government in addressing cases of human wildlife conflict in the country.
“We should also see this being extended not only to compensating human beings because surely you will agree with me that there is no value to the loss of a life but its only an attempt to show our seriousness and our concern over these type of afflictions. We must also look at ways of how we can compensate losses of livestock,” he said.
Masvingo and Manicaland provinces have recorded high statistics of human wildlife conflict due to over abundance of lions, whose population now exceeds 1500, while Matabeleland North Province also has high statistics due to over population of elephants at Hwange National Park.