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Scare jumbos with chillies: Minister


Oppah Muchinguri
Oppah Muchinguri

THE government has urged villagers to grow chillies to chase away elephants and other wild animals from human settlements as well as protect crops.


Villagers in the wildlife-rich Matabeleland North Province not only live in fear for their lives, but also for their crops as wild animals usually go on the rampage destroying crops, leaving them staring hunger in the face.

Oppah Muchunguri, the Environment Water and Tourism minister, said villagers residing near wildlife conservancies should employ methods such as growing chilli bombs to scare elephants and other wild animals away.

Chilli bombs, also known as ghost chillis, have been certified as the world’s hottest by the Guinness Book of Records. The smell of the hot chillis is known to be enough to scare away the animals.

“Where there is imminent threat to human life, animals have been killed. Lastly, we promote various methods of dispersing the animals.

“Such methods include growing chillis around their fields and use of chilli bombs in the case of elephants,” Muchunguri told senators on Thursday.

Muchunguri was responding to questions with notice asked by Beitbridge senator Tambudzani Mohadi on what measures her ministry had put in place to protect farmers whose crops were damaged by elephants.

The minister said human and wildlife conflicts had become prevalent owing to many factors such as scarcity of resources and said the government had adopted many strategies to deal with such conflicts.

“Communities are being encouraged to establish community wildlife conservancies in order to improve their livelihoods and manage human wildlife conflicts.

“Outreach programmes targeting communities living adjacent to protected areas are being conducted to educate communities on addressing human wildlife conflicts.

“Problem animals such as lions and leopards have been translocated from areas near human settlements in order to protect such areas,” Muchunguri noted.

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