Zimbabwe sets fund to compensate victims of wildlife attacks

HARARE – Zimbabweans who fall prey to wild animal attacks are set to receive government compensation for their losses.

This came during cabinet deliberations Tuesday, the outcome of which was relayed to the media at a post-cabinet briefing by Information Minister Monica Mutsvangwa later in the day.

Zimbabwe has the worst incidence of animal attacks of humans.

This year alone, as of August 2022, forty-six Zimbabwean lives have been lost to human-wildlife conflict, with the most affected being Mashonaland West Province, where 19 people were killed, mostly in Kariba.

Regionally, Zimbabwe has the highest number of deaths from human wildlife conflict.

For example, in Botswana there are significantly less deaths, although they have more elephants at 204 000.

This is because they have a smaller human population and the settlements are sparsely populated.

Over a period of 10 years, Botswana has recorded 57 deaths.

Among some of the hazards of human and wildlife conflict are fatalities, disability and serious injuries.

Human and wildlife conflict has also led to loss of food security due to consumption and destruction of crops by animals; loss of livestock to predatory wild animals; destruction and damage of property and infrastructure; and potential exposure to zoonotic diseases.

Because of the crisis caused by wild animals on humans, Mutsvangwa said, “Cabinet 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 hospitalization and treatment with a set limit.

“The payments will cover three categories, namely: death, maiming, and injuries. A specialized human-wildlife conflict unit will be established under Zimparks.

“The Fund is based on a self-financing model where proceeds from hunting and other crowd funding activities will be mobilized to resource the Fund.

“These sources include reserving a hunting quota under the CITES granted quota, a levy on hunting revenue accruing to safari operators, Rural District Councils and conservancy owners.”

Mutsvangwa said the financing sources also include, among others a percentage of wildlife commodities or products that are approved and monitored by Zimparks; crowding conservancies to contribute financially towards human wildlife conflict through donor support programmes; CAMPFIRE proceeds; and donations from the public, including funds from foundations set for wildlife conservation.

She added, “Going forward, the Fund will be extended to include preventative measures such as providing water in the game parks and enhancing grazing pastures.

“The fund will also look at associated impacts such as livestock loss and control of wildlife and livestock movements to curtail the spread of diseases such as foot and mouth.”

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