THE Zimbabwe Parks and Wildlife Management Authority (ZimParks) is rehabilitating part of Mabhongwane Dam at the border with Botswana in Bulilima West, as a long-term measure to control marauding elephants in the area.

By Richard Muponde

The dam, which is situated at the boundary of Mabhongwane Game Park and Bulilima villages, was breached in the early 1980s, leaving wildlife without a source of water.

The human-wildlife conflict in the villages was escalating and a life was lost early this year when a herd of jumbos trampled a mental patient during the night, on his way to buy cigarettes at Ndolwane business centre.

A team of ZimParks rangers is reportedly on the ground hunting down herds of elephants which are invading the villages in search of water.

ZimParks spokesperson Tinashe Farawo yesterday confirmed the rehabilitation of Mabhongwane Dam and the jumbo problem.

“We have received a report on problematic herds of elephants in Bulilima. Our teams are on the ground trying to drive them away if the situation permits, otherwise we put down one to scare them away. This will give us a longer period without a repeat of the problem,” he said.

“We are also looking at rehabilitating Mabhongwane Dam as part of the long-term remedy to human and wildlife conflict in the area. It is part of our corporate social responsibility to give back to communities.”

Bulilima West legislator Dingimuzi Phuti said the dam used to have recreational facilities, which included a lodge, which was vandalised after being neglected when the dam was breached
“Indeed, the resuscitation of the dam will end the villagers’ problems as it will keep wild animals confined to the game park. The project is getting momentum to achieve a lasting solution. Engineers were once here at my invitation and it’s work in progress,” Phuti said.

Hundreds of elephants crossing from Botswana and the Hwange National Park perennially invade Bulilima villages, destroying villagers, crops and water sources.

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