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Met Office Warns Of Heavy Rains Across The Country

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BY NOKUTHABA DLAMINI 

The Meteorological Services Department (MSD) has warned about the strong rainfalls throughout the country, which will be accompanied by lightning and strong winds from today until next week. 

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MSD in a statement said the main watershed will cut across major towns from Mutare to Harare, Harare to Bulawayo, Bulawayo to Plumtree and Harare to Masvingo.

“The ITCZ [InterTropical Convergence Zone] which has been active over the northern parts of the country is expected to combine with a cloud band which is moving from the west to the east covering the whole country and as a result the combined effect of the two should result in precipitation amounts in excess of 50mm in areas along the main watershed,” the MSD rains alert said. 

Additionally, hail storms and lighting might be experienced  in some parts of the country which might lead to destruction of infrastructure, the department said.

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According to the Civil Protection Unit director, Nathan Nkomo, lighting has killed almost 50 people in the country since October last year. 

“Lightning strikes remain a threat to humans and livestock, as well as property. Heavy rains may reduce visibility, especially at night.

“Rivers and wetlands may be flooded, even by rains from upstream. Excessive moisture may cause poorly constructed buildings to collapse, please reinforce some structures of questionable stability,” the MSD said.

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The department also called on people to avoid crossing flooded rivers, swollen streams, areas where flash flooding has occurred or where flowing water is above ankle height.

“Noting that, a 30cm depth of flowing water may sweep away large vehicles, waiting for the water to subside before attempting to cross, even though flooding is caused by heavy rains that occurred somewhere.

“Do not hide under trees or in isolated sheds during thunderstorms as these are prone to lightning strike.” 

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Speeding into the spotlight: Tsessebe makes rare appearance in Panda Masuie Forest

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IMAGE: Wild Is Life and ZEN

BY NOKUTHABA DLAMINI

In a groundbreaking discovery, the Wild is Life Trust and Zimbabwe Elephant Nursery (ZEN) have spotted a rare and elusive species in the conservation area near Victoria Falls – the Tsessebe, Africa’s fastest antelope.

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Camera traps in the Panda Masuie Forest captured footage of the Tsessebe, which can reach speeds of up to 90km/h.

“Panda Masuie Forest stands as a beacon of hope for biodiversity conservation in the region,” said the Wild is Life Trust in a statement. “Our camera traps revealed a rare species never seen by us in Panda Masuie – a Tsessebe.”

The footage was captured at a waterhole called Jos’ Corner, near the Botswana border. Over the course of just a few days, camera traps also captured images of many other species, including elephant, lion, eland, sable, roan, warthog, zebra, giraffe, ostrich, and ground hornbill.

The trust emphasized the significance of this discovery.

“The Tsessebe’s presence in Panda Masuie sheds light on its behaviour and ecological needs in this specific habitat, underscoring the importance of preserving natural landscapes and maintaining ecological connectivity across vast wilderness areas.”

To the organization , this incredible find is a testament to the power of collaboration and dedication to wildlife conservation.

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In a separate incident, the Victoria Falls Wildlife Trust rewilded a terrapin rescued from a poacher’s backpack near Victoria Falls Town.

The organization announced, “We’re thrilled to announce that it has been released into the Victoria Falls National Park, where it can thrive in its natural habitat… Let’s protect and preserve our precious wildlife for generations to come!”

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Tourism and Environment

Pristine Victoria Falls Society calls for behavior change amidst littering concerns

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BY STAFF REPORTER

The Pristine Victoria Falls Society (PVFS) has urged citizens, particularly those visiting the resort city, to change their behavior regarding littering.

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Formed almost three years ago by stakeholders and residents, PVFS aims to make Victoria Falls the cleanest city in Africa and a world destination of choice. Led by a committee of individuals from various organizations, PVFS has gained momentum as more stakeholders and individuals pledge to maintain the city’s pristine state.

The initiative involves daily litter collection and adopting streets for cleaning. A task force, comprising PVFS, Environmental Management Authority (EMA), Victoria Falls City Council, and police, was formed to spearhead activities and provide enforcement.

However, PVFS campaign manager Douglas Musiringofa notes that efforts to keep the city clean are being undermined by reckless littering behavior.

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“We have noted that when events take polace planners clean along roads yet some people drive and park in random areas in the bush where they leave litter which we are finding now as we clean,” he said.

Musiringofa implored companies to take it upon themselves to clean everywhere.

Musiringofa implores companies to take responsibility for cleaning up everywhere, citing the overwhelming amount of waste generated by visitors.

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“We are overweelmed by waste not from people in Victoria Falls but from visitors hence we have been trying to do fire fighting with our small team.”

The PVFS team collects an average of 50-60 bags of litter daily, with the worst-affected areas being between Mkhosana turn-off and Sprayview, along Livingstone Way, Courtney Selous, BB7, and Aerodrome.

Musiringofa emphasizes the need for collective action to address this issue.

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Parcelling of land in Hwange National Park sparks fears of ecological disaster

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BY NOKUTHABA DLAMINI 

Conservationists in Hwange district are sounding the alarm over the parcelling of land to Chinese and land barons for mining and development in the ecologically sensitive Hwange and Victoria Falls National Park, home to the rainforest.

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During a recent parliament session, Larry Norton, a tourism player from the Larry Norton Art Gallery, stressed the need for careful consideration of the Parks and Wildlife Amendment Bill (H.B.1, 2024), which aims to address human-wildlife conflicts and sustainable conservation.

“In recent years, many of us who live in Hwange have watched what’s happened on the edges of Sinamatella… can you imagine that hole at the edge of Hwange and in the middle of Hwange National Park?” Norton quizzed.

Who is going to come into that park? It’s impossible… we have to be very very careful, pay attention to how the laws can be utilized, manipulated, taken advantage of, because the losers could be our children,” Norton warned.

“We also have here a living animal, the Victoria Falls itself and there has been a dismantling of the buffer area around those falls, and the protection of the Victoria Falls itself.

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“In the last two years, due to an oversight of leadership, in many different departments, it’s unbelievable…some of us here have fought a court case to protect that area for our children, and l honestly appeal to you to pay attention to what we are doing for the long term.”

Sithandazile Siwela, a female tour guide in Hwange and Victoria Falls National Parks, also expressed concerns about the extinction of wildlife and called for stiffer penalties.

“We have seen the extinction of the pangolin, the black rhinoceros… I want us to send a message to these legislators: can you guys review those penalties that are being given to offenders? We will be seeing in the next decade the animals that you are saying – the black and white rhinoceros – we will be seeing them in the books, because we do not have them in the park.”

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Conservationists are seeking clarity on how Zimbabwe Parks and Wildlife Management Authority plans to handle these concerns.

They are also urging the government to revisit the bill and address their concerns to ensure that wildlife conservation benefits both people and wildlife.

Norton emphasized the importance of taking time to gather feedback and considering the pros and cons of the bill to prevent manipulation by land barons or corrupt individuals.

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