By Nhau Mangirazi
KARIBA- Thirty eight year old Shorai Dhambe is a worried widow who lost her vegetables at Nyamhunga market on several occasions.
“It has become a daily routine for us counting down loses as elephants destroy our market place and there has never been any compensation from responsible authorities here,” she narrates her ordeal that has become a desperation song for many women here.
Kariba Proportional Representative Christine Nyere admits that human and wildlife conflict is a major problem in Kariba district. She says women are the worst victims of the conflict of late Nyere explains,
“We have witnessed these conflicts but no solution has been reached out to help victims. Our economy is informal and many survive from hand to mouth. When their wares are destroyed without compensation it means their livelihood is doomed,”
As residents from resort town of Kariba joined the rest of the world in celebration of World Rangers day on 31July, they remained a divided community failing to get peace over human and wildlife conflict in the resort town and its surroundings. Some visitors are victims of well calculated theft by baboons while some vegetables vendors have had their markets destroyed by menacing elephants at Nyamhunga and Batonga high density suburbs. For rangers who pledged and dedicated their life to protect nature, sleeping on hard ground remain between the hard rock and deep sea as reality is affecting people.
One of the rangers speaking on condition that he is not named says they have been chased or attacked by wild animals especially lions, buffaloes and elephants.
He says, ,”We have been in contact with armed poachers ready to kill. I have pulled out, carried the dead, comforted some of my colleagues killed by wild animals. In the process, I lied to my colleagues as they were dying assuring them that they will make it in life but watched the life fade out,” To him, rangers endure verbal insults, attacked by some women after arresting their husbands for poaching.
He adds, “We have been in high-speed car chases during illegal wildlife trade investigation operations to save nature” Rangers who join others internationally to celebrate their “work turned fate’ missed Christmas and other public holidays.
He explains, “During our operations, we have been warned, threatened for doing our work and not to speak out by forces within and outside the system. At times we have been investigated, accused and sent to jail by the system I serve for doing my work,”
Wildlife rangers who are part of the eco-system in Kariba share moments of a divided community that they have failed to help while protecting menacing baboons and elephants.