BULAWAYO – Victims of wildlife attacks will be compensated after ministers on Tuesday approved a fund for the purpose.
The Human Wildlife Conflict Relief Fund for Victims in Zimbabwe will cover death, maiming and injuries.
Briefing journalists following a cabinet meeting on Tuesday, information minister Monica Mutsvangwa said as a result of Zimbabwe’s successful conservation programmes, “the country’s increasing human and wildlife populations have led to competition for limited resources between humans and animals.”
“This year alone, as of August 2022, 46 Zimbabwean lives have been lost to human wildlife conflict. With the most affected being Mashonaland WesT where 19 people were killed, mostly in Kariba. Regionally, Zimbabwe has the highest number of deaths from human wildlife conflict,” she said.
“Accordingly, the government has adopted the establishment of a relief fund to cushion the victims of human-wildlife conflict by way of funeral assistance and an amount paid towards hospitalisation and treatment with a set limit. The payments will cover three categories, namely death, maiming and injuries. A specialised human-wildlife conflict unit will be established under the department of parks and wildlife.”
Mutsvangwa said in 1980, Zimbabwe had an elephant population of 50,000, while the human population was 7.4 million. The elephant population has grown to more than 85,000 and the human population is now 15 million.
“The consequent competition for limited resources often results in wildlife attacks on humans, especially in communal areas and towns that are close to national parks, safaris, forests and other protected areas,” she noted.
“Consequently, people living adjacent to wildlife areas are always in danger of being attacked by animals, and it has been established that the frequency of such attacks is increasing.”
Mutsvangwa said the fund would be self-financing, with proceeds expected to come from hunting revenues.