BABOONS are giving patients at Binga District Hospital a torrid time as they scavenge for food, My Zimbabwe News has learnt.
They steal food from patients, vandalise property and cause sleepless nights to expecting mothers. In August 2019, the Zimbabwe Parks and Wildlife Management Authority (ZimParks) had to install a trap cage at the hospital in response to the problem.
About 12 baboons were trapped and killed and it brought short-lived relief to the patients. However, the problem has resurfaced as the human-wildlife conflict recently reared its ugly head.
Meanwhile, the Binga District Residents Association (BIDRA) has called on the ZimParks to put the trap cages in place and tame the problem of baboons, which has since returned with a vengeance.
“They are stealing food from expecting mothers, vandalising property and causing a nuisance.
“We appeal to ZimParks to mount a trap cages like they did last year to deal with the troublesome animals,” said Moffat Mutale, the BIDRA secretary-general.
Be that as it may, the trap cages are crafted and made for a lifetime, with a release and safe locking system which ensures that the trapped animal does not run away or harm itself.
On another note, the mechanism makes it possible for non-target animals to be safely released, or trans-located to another area as nature conservation authorities would deem necessary.
On Friday last week, efforts were made to get a comment from ZimParks spokesperson Tinashe Farawo, but were unfruitful as he was not picking up his mobile phone.
Apparently, the issue of problem animals is not new to Binga.
Sometime in 2019, BIDRA had to petition ZimParks to set up a pool of funds to be used as compensation to villagers for losses as a result of human-wildlife conflict.
Binga is prone to the problem owing to the increase in the wildlife population with available data showing that at least seven people were killed by wildlife in the district in 2018.
This increase in wildlife population has been attributed to a ban on culling following the promulgation of the Convention on Trade in Endangered Species (Cites) which brought about a global ban on trade in ivory.
As it stands, the available mechanisms to control animals is through hunts and problem animal control which the BIDRA said have proved not to be good enough, thereby putting villagers, their property and livestock at risk.
In the same light, human-wildlife conflict is a global problem, and is occurring in many countries. Conflicts are particularly common near protected areas where societal unrest is large.
To ease conflict, integrated conservation and development projects (ICDPs) have been implemented in some areas. The Communal Areas Management Programme for Indigenous Resources (CAMPFIRE) is an example of an ICDP.