AT LEAST 15 people were killed by wild animals in the first quarter of 2023 as cases of human wildlife conflicts continue to rise in Hwange, Matabeleland North province, and other parts of the country.
In Hwange, a ballooning elephant population is blamed for most of the conflicts.
The Zimbabwe Parks and Wildlife management Authority (ZimParks) said it trans-located 150 animals in the first quarter of 2023, same as last year, as a way of dealing with the overpopulation.
“We have noticed a slight decrease in the number of people who have been killed by wild animals since last year. Last year, we lost about 22 lives in the first quarter compared to 15 during the same period this year,” ZimParks spokesperson Tinashe Farawo said.
An international ban on the trade in wildlife products and species is blamed for an increase in the elephant population in Hwange.
The Hwange National Park is the biggest wildlife reserve in the country.
Stretching over 14 600 square km and in a low rainfall area, it is home to more than 100 mammal and 400 bird species.
During the dry season, the competition for food and water intensifies, resulting in conflicts among the animals.
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For years, some of these animals, especially elephants, stray into residential areas around the park.
According to ZimParks, elephant population in the game park is more than 50 000, far beyond its holding capacity of at least 15 000.