7 January 2013

Zimbabwe: 'Protect Civilians From Wild Animals'

Save Valley — GOVERNMENT has instructed property owners in Save Valley Conservancy to repair and erect electric fences to stop wild animals from straying into resettled farmers' fields near the conservancy.

Elephants from the conservancy stray into resettled farmers' fields and destroy crops while lions attack livestock. Bikita district administrator Mr Edgards Seenza, whose area of jurisdiction stretches into the conservancy, said most resettled farmers had problems dealing with the wild animals.

"We are concerned that while our people are tilling their land, especially the resettled farmers in and around the conservancy, elephants are destroying their crops," said Mr Seenza.

"On the other hand, lions attack the cattle these resettled farmers use as draught power.

"We have met operators in the conservancy and ordered them to repair and install electric fences so that these animals won't stray.

"We expect them to immediately address that problem because our people cannot continue to suffer."

Mr Seenza said there were 13 properties on the Bikita side in the conservancy but only one had its electric fence intact. Resettled farmers, he said, demanded compensation from the operators for their crops and cattle that would have been destroyed by animals from the conservancy.

Traditional leaders in and around the conservancy also complained about animals straying and destroying their agricultural produce.

Chief Mabika, whose area of jurisdiction also stretches from Bikita into the Save Valley Conservancy, said they had spoken to the district administrator about animal control problem and he promised to discuss the issue with the operators.

"We want those operators to fence their properties so that elephants don't stray," said Chief Mabika.

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