Matabeleland North senator Rosemary Nyathi on Tuesday introduced a motion in the Senate calling for re-fencing of Hwange National Park, saying stray animals were terrorising villagers.
BY VENERANDA LANGA
Nyathi said the protective fence which used to separate people from wild animals had been removed and no investigations were made to find out who had removed it.
“There is a conflict between human beings and animals near Hwange National Park. There was a fence for quite some time, protecting people from wild, marauding animals,” she said.
“What is surprising is that when this protective fence was removed, there were no investigations made to find out what happened to it and if thorough investigations had been conducted, this fence would have been found and used again to protect people from wild animals.”
Nyathi said since 2010, many people had been killed trying to protect their fields from wild animals.
She said the constant invasion of communal lands by wild animals had resulted in destruction of crops in the Jambezi and Tshenamisa areas of Hwange.
Nyathi said people were afraid to go to their fields due to the wild animals that were also killing livestock.
“In areas like Dete, there are lions that come into homesteads and they are so daring that they even get into kraals,” she said.
“We plead with the government and National Parks department to take steps to protect people.”
The Senator said baboons and monkeys had become a menace in residential areas — Baobab, Chibondo and DRC — in Hwange where people were keeping their doors and windows locked to ensure the baboons, which were capable of attacking people, did not get into their homes.
“When you want to open your window or door in Hwange, make it a point that you do not leave that window or door open because the baboons or monkeys will get in,” Nyathi said.
“The weather in Hwange is very hot and arid, and one needs to ventilate rooms by opening doors and windows.
“They (baboons and monkeys) will open doors of fridges, stoves and even sleep on the bed.
“These animals are so cunning that when they see a woman, especially in a dress, they will challenge and stare at her until she reverses.
They are only afraid of men.”
Midlands Senator Lillian Timveos, who seconded the motion, said Hwange National Parks occupied 15 000m², but animal-human conflicts were now threatening its lucrative nature.
She said there was need for communities in Hwange to become stakeholders in wildlife management.
Timveos said there was need for the government and the Zimbabwe Parks and Wildlife Management Authority to have proper statistics on the wild animal population in order to come up with solutions to deal with the problem.