By Norma Tsopo
More people were killed by crocodiles than any other animal in Zimbabwe after they claimed 21 lives of 34 who died in human-wildlife conflict across the country in 2017, government has said.
In an interview with state newspaper – The Herald, Zimbabwe Parks and Wildlife Management Authority (ZimParks) spokesperson Tinashe Farawo expressed concern at the high incidence of crocodile attacks which dwarfed human fatalities at the hands of other dangerous animals that include lions, buffaloes and elephants.
He said his organisation shot dead 88 animals in response to the attacks on humans.
“What is more worrying is that of the 34 people, 21 were attacked by crocodiles, which all things being equal, can be outpaced by humans. The attack by crocodiles mean that people are having contact with water bodies and crocodiles are stronger in water,” Farawo is quoted as saying.
He said his organisation would continue to conduct educational campaigns to warn people to avoid close contact with wild animals and avoid water bodies as they sought donor support in erecting perimeter fencing on some unsecured nature reserves.
“We continue to educate communities and conduct awareness campaigns as a mitigatory measure…
“We are also appealing for assistance from development partners to erect perimeter fences that demarcate people from animals.”
“We are worried as parks authorities about these deaths of humans,” he said.
He however reveal a worrying low response rate to reports of presence of dangerous animals in communities as he revealed that they only responded to 29 cases after receiving 323 reports.
Farawo revealed that his organisation was hamstrung by resources.
He however said in during their responses they capture and relocate the animals while they would only put down those that would have proved to be a danger to humans.
“In our responses, we either capture the animals and translocate them to other areas or eliminate those that are dangerous,” Farawo said.
“We have managed to eliminate 88 animals this year alone. They include lions and elephants.”