Commercial Farmers' Union of Zimbabwe

Commercial Farmers' Union of Zimbabwe

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Gonarezhou under threat

‘Gonarezhou under threat’

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Masvingo Bureau

About 1 000 families from the Chitsa clan who are staying in Gonarezhou
National Park are reportedly threatening the self-sustainability of one of
Zimbabwe’s most reputable wildlife habitats, prompting the National Parks
and Wildlife Management Authority to make renewed calls for Government to
urgently relocate them.

The Chitsa families settled in the park around 2000 and are encroaching
deeper into the territory, in the process threatening the smooth rollout of
the Great Limpopo Transfrontier Park.

The Great Limpopo Transfrontier Park incorporates Gonarezhou, South Africa’s
Kruger National Park and Mozambique’s Limpopo National Park in the world’s
biggest wildlife sanctuary.

Parks Authority director-general Mr Vitalis Chadenga on Saturday appealed to
Government to move the families.

Addressing journalists during a tour of Gonarezhou, Mr Chadenga said the
present situation was unsustainable.

“We have recorded increased poaching and destruction of the environment.

“The high number of cattle threatens the habitats of our wildlife.

“Our appeal to Government is that these families be relocated for the sake
of the survival of Gonarezhou National Park,” Mr Chadenga said.

Gonarezhou area manager Mr Norman Honks said the occupation had resulted in
the Parks Authority impounding nearly 1 500 cattle over the past three
years, a situation he described as “very disturbing”.

He said they had also recovered more than 1 400 snares set by suspected
poachers to trap wild animals and vast swathes of land had been destroyed in
veld fires.

The families allegedly start fires to clear land for ploughing.

Hundreds of people occupied Gonarezhou arguing that it was their ancestral
land from which they were evicted by the Rhodesian regime.


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