Commercial Farmers' Union of Zimbabwe

Commercial Farmers' Union of Zimbabwe

***The views expressed in the articles published on this website DO NOT necessarily express the views of the Commercial Farmers' Union.***

Conservancy ‘decimated’ by land invaders

Conservancy ‘decimated’ by land invaders

By Alex Bell
30 September 2011

Land invasions at the Chiredzi River Conservancy are escalating out of 
control, with warnings that the area faces catastrophe if nothing is done to 
stop the destruction.

The Conservancy forms part of the Trans Frontier Conservation Area which is 
the world’s largest inter-regional conservation park, encompassing land from 
Botswana, South Africa and Zimbabwe. But in Zimbabwe lawlessness and the 
illegal seizure of land means areas like the Chiredzi River Conservancy are 
being destroyed.

Hundreds of land invaders have moved into the Conservancy and have caused 
serious damage to the delicate ecosystem there. The invaders have been 
tearing down trees, destroying the foliage and poaching the animals in the 
conservancy, in a surge of destruction that could be irreparable.

Charles Taffs, the President of the Commercial Farmers Union (CFU), told SW 
Radio Africa on Friday that they are “hugely concerned,” especially 
regarding the “tragedy facing the elephant herd there.” He explained that a 
herd of 70 elephants are being harassed, threatened and hunted by the land 
invaders, with no intervention from the government.

“The animals’ territory is being completely taken over. Wherever they go 
they get chased by people with burning sticks and dogs. They can’t even get 
a drink of water because their watering holes have been polluted by people 
using the water to wash,” Taffs explained.

Some of the elephants have already been slaughtered, and Taffs warned that 
they face being wiped out if no one intervenes. He explained that local 
councils have now threatened to kill the animals, because they are leaving 
their territory in search of safety, putting them on the path of local 

“This is totally out of control and everything is being totally destroyed. 
It destroys the area, it destroys tourism, and it destroys whatever 
reputation Zimbabwe might have. It is like the land reform programme all 
over again in that no one has won, everyone has lost,” Taffs said.

SW Radio Africa has also been told that the rapid clearing of the 
conservation areas is causing serious environmental degradation, including 
severe erosion, massive deforestation, destructive fires, along with the 
rampant poaching. The land invaders are said to be using poison, snares and 
dogs to hunt for game, causing extreme suffering to the wildlife.

“The coalition government cannot allow the lawlessness and destruction of 
Zimbabwe’s heritage, our future and that of our children to continue. It is 
critical that they now take a stand, resolve the escalating crisis and 
restore the rule of law,” Taffs said.


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