Communities surrounding Matobo National Park are seeking a reprieve on fines paid when their livestock encroach into the Park boundary. This plea comes after the Parks authorities unilaterally increased fines from ZWL 6 per day for each beast that encroaches into the National Park to ZWL 50 which is beyond the reach of many villagers whose livelihoods were dependent on local tourism and selling of thatch grass.
Community members derive livelihoods from selling curios to tourists who visit the Rhodes National Park. However, the Covid-19 induced lockdown has grossly affected business leaving more Community members vulnerable.
Communities that reside in the areas surrounding the Park act as first responders in the event of fires and alarm raisers when there are poachers.
Given the drought situation in Matobo, farmers have no option but to drive their cattle into the Park to avert massive deaths. Matobo District is one of the hardest-hit districts suffering from recurrent droughts and communities are calling upon the Park authority to consider their challenges and cede off some of its land.
Source: Habukkuk Trust