Communities on high alert for wildlife invasion

The Habakkuk Trust Community Advocacy Action Team in Bulilima ward 10 has raised an alert over two elephants that passed through Mafa village early yesterday morning. The Jumbos are said to have been coming from the direction of the Mabhongwane Conservancy.

The community has called upon the ward Campfire chairperson to alert officials in order to avert a disaster.

Villagers have pointed out that the elephants were on a suspected spying mission and will be back in their numbers in the following two to three days. This has hastened some villagers to harvest their maize crops in fear of losses as they are certain that the elephants are coming sooner than expected.

Bulilima Ward 10 is prone to elephant and buffalo invasions due to its proximity to Botswana and Mabhongwane conservancy. The ward seems to be situated in a wildlife corridor as witnessed by the seasonal movement of elephants from conservancies through human settlements.

Elephant invasions have in the recent past resulted in the destruction of infrastructure and decimation of harvests further plunging communities into vulnerability.

The impending danger comes at a time when the community is grappling to contain migratory bird species that have invaded millet fields. The birds locally known as intaka ebomvu, are alleged to be coming from neighboring Botswana. Communities have reported that irrigation schemes in the neighboring country spray the birds as part of their pest control measures thus leading to an uncontrollable influx into Zimbabwe.

According to Mr. Linos Khumalo, the birds can decimate a hectare of millet crop within a few days. “These birds have become a menace as they can eat a whole field within a couple of days,” narrated Mr. Khumalo.

“We wake up at 4 am and spend the whole day in the field to protect our crops from these birds,” said Mrs. Sikhathele Dube who is the Habakkuk Trust community advocacy action team minute secretary.

Incidences of human-wildlife are set to increase in Bulilima as communities approach harvesting season.

Source: Habakkuk Trust

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