About five months after government through Wildlife Minister Bright Msaka handed over a K65 million electric fence to Vwaza Marsh Wildlife Reserve, communities at Mpherembe have already destroyed part of it for animal poaching.
The revelation was made by the reserve’s Manager, Leonard Moyo on Friday during an interface meeting between office bearers from Mzimba North district council and Mpherembe community members at Emcisweni 2 which was organised by the Church and Society of the CCAP Livingstonia Synod.
Moyo said about 400 metres of the wire fence has already been damaged by encroachers.
“Government gave us the fence so that we can reduce human and wildlife conflict due to some animals like elephants that destroy people’s crops as well as their lives. However, we have discovered an increase in the number of traps in the reserve made from the same wire. Now we are confused to conclude that maybe the idea of fencing the reserve was wrong because it has fuelled poaching against our expectation,” Moyo said.
Moyo however said the maintenance of the fence is in progress and appealed for more support from the communities around the reserve especially by providing information of people involved in the malpractice.
Inkosana Malidade, representing Senior Chief Mpherembe while condemning his people for the vandalism, asked government through the wildlife office to speed up the maintenance process as his subjects are at risk of being attacked by the wild animal s .
“The fence is not electrified up to now, and that is why these people find it easy to destroy it. I think if electricity is connected as soon as possible, then no one would dare to go close to the fence,” he said.
Church and Society, Child Protection Coordinator Hughes Chinkhuntha commended the office bearers for making themselves available and interacting with community members from Malidade, Thunduwike and Mnyanjagha.
“The interface was organised with funding from Transform Aid international and drew officials from the District Health Office, District Council, and Education and Agriculture departments so that they can enlighten people on some administrative issues,” said Chinkhuntha.