A least P1 353 777. 50 have been disbursed to farmers in the North East District (NED), as compensation to farmers whose ploughing fields were damaged by the ever astray wild animals in the area.
North East District Council (NEDC) Chairperson, Florah Mpetsane, revealed the development when closing the full council session last Friday.
She said human wildlife conflict in the district has remained rampant.
Fifty-nine reports, according to Mpetsane, were received and attended to since 2014.
According to Mpetsane, elephants still have a high incidence of forty-one reports while fourteen reports were leopards.
“The hectares damaged are 35.78 and belonged to subsistence farmers being 28.12 hectares at Matsiloje, 3.12 hectares at Patayamatebele and 4.54 hectares for Matopi,” said Mpetsane.
In addition, Mpetsane said 0.40 hectares of horticulture covering 0.35 hectares at Patayamatebele and 0.05 hectares at Ditladi where chormolia, tomatoes and butternuts were also destroyed by the rampaging wild animals.
“As from April 2017, a total of 325 problem animal cases were paid an amount of P1 353 777.50 while fifteen cases are still pending,” said Mpetsane, adding that the remaining fifteen problem animal cases amount to P169 193.80.
Mpetsane said the unresolved fifteen problem animal cases are pending because the farmers in question could not avail their copies of Omang (identity card) and proof of land of ownership when handing over their claims.
During the 2017/18 financial year, the Department of Wildlife and National Parks was allocated P3million towards compensating farmers who suffered serious crop damages caused by wild animals from 2014 to date.
Meanwhile, Mpetsane said the Department of Wildlife and National Parks will continue to deploy officers to human-wildlife hotspots areas scattered all over the better northeastern part of the country.
“This is aimed at controlling problem animal cases through law enforcement patrols,” said Mpetsane, adding that human-wildlife incidents are gobbling the government coffers thanks to compensation of affected farmers.
Counting of elephants’ population within the NED was conducted in 2015 by the then Ministry of Environment, Wildlife and Tourism in order to inform the government on the population movement of elephants, structure and size to facilitate informed decision making.
A couple of months ago, wildlife officials have been busy hunting for stray lions in the north and central parts of the country.
The fear is that the lions might terrorize cattle ranchers in the area in a development that will force the government to compensate the affected farmers.