THE rise in number of people and livestock being attacked by crocodiles along the Zambezi River and other major water bodies in Zambia is now becoming a matter of concern.
Department of National Parks and Wildlife (DNPW), as the institution responsible for managing wildlife, should also be worried about this situation because it has the ultimate responsibility of not only managing wildlife but of protecting human beings and livestock too from such unwarranted attacks and deaths.
In fact, in our view, every attack by a crocodile or any wild animal on a human being or livestock is in fact an exposure of the department’s failure to properly and effectively manage wildlife.
Lately there have been numerous reports of human and livestock deaths caused by crocodile attacks in Chirundu, Siavonga, Gwembe, Samfya and other human settlements by the lakes and rivers.
DNPW cannot certainly claim that these attacks have been as a result of people or livestock straying in game territory but vice versa.
The wildlife department needs to be proactive and effectively monitor the wildlife population, and crop it when and where necessary so that its level of harm on humans and livestock is minimized.
But what we have observed over time is that the department only swings into action after a life has been lost or herds of cattle, for instance, have been taken by wild animals. The department has shown to be more reactive rather than proactive.
No human being or livestock deserves to die from an attack by a reptile, a lion or indeed any other wild animal because it is a painful death, and the reason the department of wildlife is there is to ensure their safety.
People living along water bodies need not to continue to worry about their safety at all, just like the livestock owners need not continue worrying about the safety of their cattle due to the over-populated reptiles for instance.
It should be the duty of the department to worry about the people and the livestock’s safety and ensure that their lives are forever protected from attacks through effective cropping of reptiles and other dangerous wild animals.
The department needs to be up to its task in order to safeguard the lives of people and that of livestock as well.