By Mthandazo Nyoni
Lubimbi villagers in Binga have appealed to the government to intervene and protect wildlife in their area from possible extinction due to rampant poaching by newly resettled A2 farmers.
A2 farmers were resettled by the government during the chaotic land reform programme in 2002.
Villagers told Southern Eye on Saturday that resettled A2 farmers were not conducting any developmental projects in the area to generate sustainable income and depended on poaching.
“The area was formerly a game park that was home to a huge population of wildlife. But since the land invasion, the animals population has dwindled to alarming levels due to poaching activities between Gwayi and Jotsholo,” said a Binga youth activist Mcabango Mpande.
“The large herds of elephants, buffalos, impala, kudus and many other animal species which roam the bushes in the area are in danger of extinction. The neighbouring southern region villagers of Binga South who once enjoyed animal life and other related benefits due to the presence of animals foresee a bleak future for the children because of the poaching as they depended on tourism,” she said.
Another villager said they feared that most of these resettled farmers may abandon the land when there is no more wildlife left in the area.
“We are appealing to the government to intervene before there is no more wildlife left in our area,” Mpande said.
The Zimbabwe Parks and Wildlife Management Authority revealed that the poaching of key species of animals within the Hwange National Park increased to 329 cases last year from 315 witnessed in 2012.
Wildlife mainly targeted included elephants, white and black rhinos, buffaloes and zebras.
However, the jumbos topped the list at 240 in 2012 up from 223 in 2011.