…Parks, Wildlife Act on cards

MACDONALD MUDZAKI

MUTARE-Human wildlife conflict is a ticking time bomb and imminent action need to be taken if the gains of a resurgent sustainable tourism industry are to be safeguarded, Minister of Environment, Climate Tourism and Hospitality Industry, Mangaliso Ndlovu has said.

Ndlovu said human wildlife conflicts have become one of the biggest conservation challenges the country is facing at the moment.

According to the Zimbabwe National Parks and Wildlife Management Authority there was a 58 percent increase in human wildlife conflict cases where at least 60 people were killed in and over 1500 distress calls from communities across the country between January 2021 and January 2022.

Speaking during a strategic planning workshop held by his ministry in Mutare recently Minister Ndlovu lamented the lack of a sustainable solution to these human wildlife conflicts.

“We are sitting on a time bomb and failure to provide relief to our people and the wildlife, will have dire consequences.

“We also need to ensure that community benefits under the new Community Areas Management Programme for Indigenous Resources Management (CAMPFIRE) frameworks are enhanced. I call upon our legal team to expedite the synchronization of the new Act, with the new proposed SI on CAMPFIRE. I need this to be concluded as soon as possible.

“We belong to a number of key Multilateral Environmental Agreements which require us to meet our obligations by way of reporting and taking certain actions within specified periods. Let’s make sure all is done as required. As we prepare for these conferences such as the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES), United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP), CBD COP and UNFCCC COP, we should adequately consult all stakeholders,” said Ndlovu.

Part of the reason for an increase in these conflicts has been due to climate change where human and animals are fighting for what is left of a depleting ecological economy such as water, food and shelter.

Communities living closer to national parks have been most affected as they have had their crops eaten and destroyed by wild animals which are migrating from their natural habitats in search of food and water.

Recently a Masvingo family was lucky to be left alive after the husband and his wife were seriously seriously injured following an attack by a hyena.

It is against this background that the Minister has also called on for the stepping up of efforts to address these challenges through the establishment of an up to date legal framework in the form of a new Parks and Wildlife Act which aims to address these challenges.

“I am delighted that we finalized the principles for a new Parks and Wildlife Management Act. I am expecting that the provisions of the proposed new Act will assist in addressing various challenges in this sector as well as empower ZIMPARKS towards a more sustainable and resilient institution. As a country, led by this Ministry, we need to find a lasting solution to Human Wildlife Conflict,” added Minister Ndlovu.

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