Mutare's low-density suburbs of Darlington and Morningside have been turned into landscapes of human-wildlife conflict, as monkeys are invading houses and wrecking property in the process.
A Darlington resident, Ms Christine Zenda, said the monkeys were moving around in large numbers and were in the habit of destroying property and disturbing peace.
“These monkeys even have the guts to enter houses, vandalising property,” she said.
“They grab food items like bread and fruits from houses while in some cases they invade gardens and orchards where they pluck vegetables and fruits.
“Bread and eggs are some of the food items that have been targeted in most households around these areas.
“They also have a tendency of distracting motorists with their antics on the roads, which can lead to accidents.”
Morningside has had its fair share of the menace, as the monkeys have also invaded homes and have even turned violent.
Usually they have turned aggressive towards individuals demonstrating intentions to chase them away.
They are also moving in large groups, while the aggressive behaviour has often reportedly been directed towards women and children.
The viability of urban agriculture has also come under threat as a result of the intruders.
Although properties in the low-density suburbs are expansive, most residents have abandoned or reduced the scale of subsistence agriculture practices.
This has been attributed to the animals’ marauding behaviour, as they have developed the habit of entering gardens and pillaging crops.
This has reached a point where it is neither viable nor profitable for residents to grow crops for household consumption.
Zimbabwe Parks and Wildlife Management Authority (Zimparks) spokesperson Mr Tinashe Farawo said he had not received reports on the animals.
He urged residents to protect their homes by taking precautionary measures that include closing windows and doors.
He also discouraged residents from feeding the animals.
Mr Farawo urged the affected parties not to harm the monkeys, as doing so is a criminal offence and unethical, as humans should strive to live “in harmony with nature”.
Some residents have since resorted to keeping dogs as a way of keeping the monkeys away.
“It is unlawful and an offence for people to kill any wild animal, regardless of its conduct,” said Mr Farawo.
“As such, residents must always report the presence of nuisance animals to us or find a way of co-existing, but without compromising their safety,” he said.