Children in Kariba are living in fear of wild animals which roam free in the town. Even attending classes has now been suspended for fear of being mauled by lions or trampled by elephants.
The affected areas are Chawara, Nyamhunga, Batonga and Chitungwiza.
The Zimbabwe Parks and Wildlife Management Authority (ZimParks) confirmed the development.
In an interview, ZimParks Spokesperson, Tinashe Farawo said they were seized with the matter with a view of coming up with a solution to the problem being faced in Kariba urban.
Farawo urged residents to exercise caution and limit movements in the area.
“We are looking into the matter trying to find measures so as to tackle the situation but we advise residents to limit their movements at the moment” said Farawo.
However residents in Kariba continue to blame ZimParks for inaction despite the fact that their lives are under threat from the wild animals. The residents also claim that their livelihoods have been disturbed by the animals as it is no longer business as usual in the area.
“We have decided that it is better that our kids stay home than risk their lives going to school. We have had many cases of children encountering wild animals on their way to school and we are lucky that at the moment there are no casualties. Also, our livelihoods have been disturbed especially for some of us who depend on the informal sector for a living,” said a concerned resident from Nyamhunga.
Another concerned resident said; “We have reported a number of cases to ZimParks but unfortunately, they have not acted as per our expectations. They will tell you to stay indoors and limit movements yet we have to be out there to earn a living while our children need to go to school. We hope we will be able to engage them and come up with a solution to this.”
The Director of Kariba Urban Residents Association (KURA) Samuel Coffee said the threat of wild animals is worse during the rainy season.
“Wild animals are being seen in our communities and during the rainy seasons they often come close to residential areas. People have also taken up space for wild animals by building in the corridor zone which is why these animals are now coming to where people stay” said Coffee Kura.
He said they will continue to engage ZimParks on the issue.
Human wildlife conflict continues to be an issue of major concern in Zimbabwe amid calls for measures to enhance the safety of people in the affected areas.
The issue of human wildlife conflict was raised during a meeting hosted by KURA and the Zimbabwe Constitutional Movement in Kariba in February and participants noted the need to continuously engage ZimParks and other duty bearers with a view of enhancing human safety.