CHIREDZI - Minister of Water, Environment and Climate Change, Oppah Muchinguri-Kashiri has called for the maintenance of Save Valley Conservancy fence amid reports that people who live in surrounding areas have lost more than one thousand cattle to wild animals this year.
Muchinguri-Kashiri was speaking to chiefs, councillors, conservancy owners at a meeting to explore ways of reducing human-wildlife conflict in the Lowveld.
Muchinguri-Kashiri said the conservancy owners should do a re-fencing of the conservancy so that animals can stay within their bounds.
"During my tour I realised that the Save Valley Conservancy fence is very old and has not been maintained since inception of the conservancy, so you should maintain the fence so that people will not continue losing their animals and crops," said Muchinguri-Kashoiri.
She lamented reports from parks and wildlife officials that while people continue to lose their crops and livestock to wild animals like lions, there was no compensation plan for the affected villagers.
"I also have many reports of people losing their cattle to foot and mouth diseases which are mainly contracted when cattle mix with buffaloes. This is happening because Save Valley Conservancy is not properly fenced," said Muchinguri.
Some farmers who spoke during the meeting complained that government was not showing adequate concern for their plight saying it has been a very long time since the problems were first raised with authorities.
"It's so sad that our government is doing nothing about it. We are not compensated for the losses we suffer. I have many hectares of land now lying fallow because wild animals killed all my cattle. We also have wild pigs coming to destroy whatever crops we would have planted," said the farmer.
Muchinguri-Kashiri said the government was working to rectify the problem by creating new campfire programmes to limit human-wildlife conflicts while spreading the economic benefits of wildlife to local communities.
The derelict Save Valley Conservancy fence was last maintained in the 1960s enabling wild animals to freely roam into surrounding communities.news