Information, Publicity, and Broadcasting Services Minister Monica Mutsvangwa says the issue of human-wildlife conflict is receiving top priority from the government.
Zimbabwe is said to be home to about 100 000 elephants against a carrying capacity of 55 000. The overpopulation is seeing some elephants encroaching into villages.
This has reportedly resulted in the animals being killed by villagers or the villagers dying from the ensuing conflict.
Efforts to cull the elephants is being held back by the Conventions on International Trade in Endangered Species where elephants are in Appendix 2 which allows partial exploitation.
There is also lobbying for elephants to be moved to Appendix 1 which is a total ban on the exploitation of the animals and their products.
Answering a question in the Senate from Senator Maluleke on what is being done to curb human-wildlife conflict, Mutsvangwa said while the issue priority to the government, some of the solutions will come from the Elephant Conference currently happening in Hwange.
‘’I would like to thank Honourable Senator Maluleke, if I heard her correctly, the question is on the human-wildlife conflict that there are animals which are causing problems going out of the National Parks and encroaching onto human settlements and killing some people.
‘’It is a case that is under consideration by the government. If you were listening, the cabinet minister Honourable Mangaliso Ndlovu, the Minister in charge of that Ministry, spoke about a conference that will lead to sustainable conservation of wildlife because we have an overpopulation of elephants and we are failing to sell ivory because of CITES regulations.
‘’We now have a huge stockpile of elephant tusks, which can assist us in terms of managing the elephant herd and conservation so that people who are victims of human-wildlife conflict can be compensated.
‘’It is an issue that is receiving top priority and it is being properly researched to ensure that the people who live in areas that are prone to human-wildlife conflict can be assisted, hence the call for these workshops and meetings.
‘’Our community leaders like chiefs and other traditional leaders should be present. Once there is human-animal conflict, please inform the Parks and Wildlife Department as quickly as possible so that the problem is attended to,’’ she said.