35 deaths from wild animals in 2023

THIRTY-FIVE people died from wildlife in 2023, up from 68 deaths recorded in 2022, Environment and Wildlife Minister Sithembiso Nyoni said as she lamented cases of human-wildlife conflict.

Nyoni said more than 80 people suffered injuries of varying degrees after being attacked by wild animals last year.

Nyoni said the government was in the process of establishing a human-wildlife conflict relief fund, but noted there would be no compensation for dead victims.

She revealed this while responding to written questions recently in Parliament about plans to compensate communities living around Hwange National Park who lost livestock and lives due to human-wildlife conflicts.

“The consequences of human-wildlife conflict are most severe in areas such as the communities around Hwange National Park,” Nyoni said.

“The government is creating a human-wildlife conflict relief fund that will provide relief to the remaining relatives of the dead and help to the injured and maimed.”

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He said the fund would be administered by the Zimbabwe Parks and Wildlife Management Authority (ZimParks).

“In that sense, we have a community consultation program on how they want this fund to be structured, how it will be administered and the design of the necessary modalities for technical evaluations and assessments,” he said.

The minister, however, said the fund would not provide compensation for human life lost in wildlife encounters.

“A point of emphasis is that there can never be any compensation for a life lost,” he said.

“I sympathize with the loss of human life in human-wildlife encounters.”

He said Zimbabwe continues to face numerous challenges arising from increasing human-wildlife conflicts that threaten people’s security and livelihoods.

ZimParks has been struggling to compensate victims of wildlife attacks in the wake of rising human-wildlife conflicts despite the government approving a human-wildlife conflict relief fund to compensate victims. of human-wildlife conflicts in 2022.

In 2021, 71 deaths and 50 injuries were recorded, compared to 60 deaths and 40 injuries in 2020.

In 2022, 68 people died at the hands of wild animals.

The country recorded 15 deaths and 43 injuries during the first quarter of 2023.

Rising wildlife populations, along with a ban on slaughter following the enactment of the Convention on Trade in Endangered Species, which imposed a global ban on the ivory trade, have been blamed for increasing incidents of human-to-human conflict. wild life.

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