Wildlife authorities in Zimbabwe have raised an alarm over an increase in human-wildlife conflict in the country this year.
According to the state-owned Herald newspaper, 27 people have so far been killed and several others injured by wild animals since the beginning of the year.
Majority of the incidents, the Herald said, were reported in communities close to wildlife habitats where animals are increasingly coming into contact with humans as they stray in search of food and water.
Elephants accounted for half of the deaths closely followed by crocodiles which accounted for 40 percent then lions and buffaloes with 10 percent.
A spokesperson for the Zimbabwe Parks and Wildlife Management Authority (ZimParks) spokesperson, Tinashe Farawo, warned that such conflicts are likely to increase during the next six months as the country tries to come to grips with an acute water shortage.
“We have lost 27 lives as from January this year because of wild animals; the animals are not only a danger to humans but their habitat as well. Apart from water shortages, there is over population, which can only be addressed by translocating the animals and move them to less populated areas,” Farawo said.
“We are doing awareness campaigns to educate people on what they are supposed to do to protect themselves from wild animals, we also encourage people to minimise movement at night to avoid wild animals because they move a lot during the night,” he added.
Farawo has previously said ZimParks desperately needed investment in water sources to prevent the deaths of wild animals and ultimately protect humans from such animals.
Human-wildlife conflict in Zimbabwe, however, is largely attributed to a growing human population that has led to diminishing natural habitat for wildlife.