|Govt urged to resuscitate conservancies|
|Saturday, 23 June 2012 19:39|
Masvingo CorrespondentPLAYERS in the tourism industry have called upon the Government to resuscitate conservancies that lie idle in Masvingo province amid fears that a number of animal species may be forced into extinction.
Masvingo Province is home to a considerable number of wildlife game parks which have been unfortunately left unattended with most of the infrastructure vandalised by unscrupulous members of society.
Masvingo provincial tourism chairman Dr Fredrick Kasese bemoaned the destruction that is on many game reserves in the province and called upon the responsible authorities to consider revamping the tourist attractions in the province.
He said there are a number of game reserves under constant threat of negative human activities and fears are that they can be forced into extinction against the backdrop of their strategic role of raising the much needed revenue to the province and country at large.
He noted with concern the seemingly destruction of Shagashe Game Reserve which is on 386 hectares of land in Masvingo North. He said the conservancy is now a pale shadow of its former self after having been adversely affected by human activity.
“The situation of Shagashe Game Park, which used to be home to a number of wild animals some of them, rare species in the country, now leaves a lot to be desired.
“There were over 70 zebras, 43 tsetse bears which are rare animal species in Africa, veld beers, 11 giraffes and many other animal species in the game park. All these have been hunted down with only a handful left,” said Dr Kasese.
He challenged the department of National Parks and Wildlife to attend to the situation as a matter of urgency before the country loses its natural heritage pointing out that there should be checks and balances to ensure that conservancies are not left to die.
Another conservancy which is left at the mercy of some illegal activities is Mushandike Game Park which stretches from Wimpy up to Bulawayo Road near Mashava. The game reserve is also home to a number
of kudus and sables but has been left unattended for a number of years.
Dr Kasese appealed to Masvingo City Council to take over the management of the conservancies which are under their jurisdiction and start creating revenue.
“Some conservancies were once under the control of the local authorities that include Masvingo Rural District Council and the city council. Originally Shagashe was run by the Wildlife Society which also manages Mukuvisi Woodland in Harare, on a 99 year lease but we don’t know what happened,” he said.
He also underscored the need for robust awareness campaigns on the importance of our natural resources.
Newly resettled farmers should be taught not to hunt wild animals but they should also apply for hunting licences so that they become part of the National Park and Wildlife Management initiative, said Dr Kasese.