Sixty people have been killed since the start of 2022 by elephants in Zimbabwe, where this large land mammal has one of the few growing populations, a government spokesperson said on May 10. With 100,000 specimens, Zimbabwe has the second largest elephant population in the world after Botswana, or about a quarter of the elephants in Africa. Unlike other countries, where poachers have culled these mammals for the ivory trade, Zimbabwe’s elephant population is growing at 5% per year.

Cohabitation

“In some areas the elephants are moving in large herds. They have devoured everything in the fields and are now going to the properties, forcing the inhabitants to fight back, and thereby injuring the elephants”, government spokesman Nick Mangwana wrote on Twitter. “Injured elephants become aggressive and uncontrollable, he continues. The issue of human-wildlife conflict has become very sensitive. This year alone, 60 Zimbabweans have been killed by elephants and 50 injured.”he said.

Nick Mangwana said elephants killed 72 people in 2021. Elephants started wandering outside game reserves. In the past, Zimbabwean authorities recorded no less than 311 wild animal attacks on humans in 2019, compared to 195 in 2018, which left 20 people dead. In 2019, wild animals killed 36 people in the country. Elephants are most often implicated, but buffaloes, hippos, lions, hyenas and crocodiles are not left out. In question, the terrible drought that has hit all of southern Africa for several seasons.

Overcrowding

In Zimbabwe, human-wildlife conflict is on the rise. Tinashe Farawo of the Zimbabwe Parks and Wildlife Management Authority says he is “probable that there will be a disaster if the population (of elephants) is not diminished”.

“The threat is likely to increase during the dry season when herds move in search of water and food.”

Tinashe Farawo, Parks and Wildlife Management Authority

at AFP

He points out that rangers had been deployed to eliminate the most dangerous elephants. Experts say Zimbabwe has the potential for a population of 45,000 elephants, which need large grazing areas.

License to kill

In May 2021, the Zimbabwean government wanted to authorize the culling of 500 elephants during the hunting season. Price of license to kill : between 10,000 and 70,000 dollars, depending on the size of the animal. For the authorities, this would make it possible to regulate the overpopulation of elephants and to attract hunting-loving tourists.

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