Poaching and Masowe gatherings listed among firebugs at Matopo Veld Fire Indaba

by | May 17, 2024 | Business, Local News, Wheather | 0 comments

Poaching and Masowe gatherings listed among firebugs at Matopo Veld Fire Indaba

Brian Rungano Temba

The Environmental Management Agency (EMA) yesterday, the 15th of May 2024, hosted a Veld Fire Indaba at Major Primary School in Ward 24.

Present were representative from the Province and District under Forestry Commission, EMA, Parks and Wildlife, and the Zimbabwe Republic Police (ZRP) as well as the communities residing close to Matopos National Park.

During the Indaba, a number of possible causes for Veld Fire were raised by the community and the Park Authorities.

This follows a rise in veld fires have been rampant and frequent in that part of the District, affecting the community, environment, and animals (livestock and wildlife). In most cases, the community fails to put out the fires as they will be very wild and intense, resulting in the loss of livestock and natural vegetation.

Speaking at the event, Parks Authorities cited that they recorded a rise in Poaching of wild animals in the area which resulted in veld fires after failing to properly extinguish fires they hed set for warmth at night or as diversions after a kill.

“We encourage members of the community to report any poaching activities. When you withhold such information, it betrays the evidence needed to prosecute offenders.

“Some of the fires are a result of _Masowe_ overnight church gatherings that get out of hand in the mountains close to the park,” said representatives of the Parks Authorities.

Members of the community also cited that fires can be seen burning in the Park for days from the villages but as much as the villagers would like to assist in firefighting, they can not because there is a shoot to kill policy that Parks maintains for trespassers. This policy regulates the Park Authorities to shoot on sight with the assumption that any unannounced presence is a poacher.

It was then resolved that the Park and the community will work together in firefighting and also in creating fireguards.

In addition, a space will be set aside for the community to cut grass in the Park, and women were invited to access it instead of the men. The unsaid reason is because men have a tendency to scout the area for potential hunting and poaching ground.

The Park will avail a hundred bales of grass per ward to the nearby communities, especially in Ward 24. This is so that the community can feed their cattle and in areas like Tshapo, they already benefited from a borehole drilled by Parks to help minimize the flow of cattle into the Park in search of grass and water.

On the 17th of May, Ward 24 will host the Provincial Fire Week Launch, which is under the theme ” Prevent Veld Fires- Protect the Environment and Livelihoods.”