More people have lost livestock than have been killed by Covid-19 in the Hurungwe District of Northern Zimbabwe, at the edge of Zambezi Escarpment. Since January, 63 goats have been killed. More than 12 incidents of leopard and elephant conflict with humans have been reported, and this month alone, 38 goats were killed by a leopard in Hotel village in Marongora, at Mana Pools’ southern boundary. A goat is valued at $40 and an expensive asset to villagers.
Human-wildlife conflict is defined by the World Wildlife Fund as “any interaction between humans and wildlife that results in negative impacts on human, social, economic or cultural life, on the conservation of wildlife populations, or on the environment.” Examples of negative impacts include carnivores attacking and killing livestock, herbivores raiding crops, and resource competition between animals and humans including water as a resource.
On the 21st of July, a report was received that a leopard was terrorizing the local village community and killing goats. Due to local resource constraints and lack of trained personnel, ZimParks and Bushlife were asked to intervene by trapping the leopard and relocating it to the National Park. We are working on this now.
The immediate solution we are implementing is game capture and translocation. Retaliation killing by villagers is not a solution but an emotional response, which will not conserve the species or support the villagers. We are also identifying ways to support the farmers and implement methods to humanely prevent future conflict.