OLIVER SAMBOKO writes
WILDLIFE police in the neighbouring Zimbabwe’s tourist resort town of Kariba have arrested and taken to court two youths for stoning elephants.
But the action has sparked protests from local residents who have vowed to continue stoning the beasts.
The residents, led by the chairperson for the Kariba Incorporated Area Residents and Ratepayers Association (KIARRA) Samu Mawawo, vowed to continue stoning the elephants until their concerns were addressed.
They said wild animals in the tourist town were being given more protection than human beings.
Irvin Marofa and Brian Nariti, who appeared in the Kariba Magistrates Court, were reported to have stoned the elephants as they roamed the streets in the central business district.
But the Zimbabwe Parks and Wildlife Management Authority (ZPWMA) immediately arrested them. Human/animal conflicts were rife in the resort town which sometimes resulted in the loss of life and property.
Recently, the residents protested against the high number of baboons in the residential areas.
The protest followed a spate of destruction of property by baboons and elephants, which sometimes has led to injuries and human deaths.
The protests forced ZPWMA to relocate the baboons and monkeys to other game parks.
Over 500 baboons had so far been captured and relocated to reduce their population in the townships while the issue of game corridors remained outstanding.
ZPWMA, however, insisted that wild animals had the right to co-exist with humans without being harmed.
Mr Mawawo said his association was hopeful that ZPWMA was going to withdraw the court case against the two youths to allow dialogue in the matter.