RDCs SHOULD COMPENSATE COMMUNAL FARMERS

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Rural District Councils (RDCs) should formulate strategies that deal with compensation of human-wildlife conflict victims using Campfire funds, an official has said.

Communities living close to national parks lose lives, crops and livestock to wild animals that stray from conservancies, but do not get compensation.

Government currently does not have a national compensation policy to cover losses from wildlife conflict. RDCs, along with chiefs, council officials and community members, administratively run Campfire funds.

Speaking on the sidelines of a community inception meeting over the establishment of Cultural and Tourism services centre in Mabale, Hwange, recently, Campfire director Charles Jonga said there were local level arrangements that go towards managing the losses that communities suffer.

“RDCs need to come up with strategies on how the proceeds from a wildlife resource are used to compensate victims,” he said.

Jonga said government was seized with the human-wildlife conflict matter and Campfire would seek guidance in developing various remedies to assist affected communities.

He said there were concerted efforts by Campfire to scale up benefits for communities in wildlife conservancies vicinities as a way of promoting sustainable conservation.

According to ZimParks, an average of 20 human-wildlife conflict incidents involving crop and livestock loss were reported in the district every month. Attacks on humans by lions, elephants, buffaloes and crocodiles were common in Mabale and Matetsi wards.

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