1306478_Matanzima,J_2023.pdf (270.58 kB)
Negative human-crocodile interactions in Kariba, Zimbabwe: data to support potential mitigation strategies
journal contributionposted on 2024-02-08, 04:49 authored by Joshua MATANZIMAJoshua MATANZIMA, I Marowa, T Nhiwatiwa
Interactions between people and wild animals often result in negative impacts, and different views on the management of such interactions can lead to conflicts. Both intentional and unintentional negative human-wildlife interactions are increasing problems in many places where people share space with wild animals. Here we focus on negative interactions between people and Nile crocodiles Crocodylus niloticus in and around Lake Kariba in Zimbabwe. In the study area, crocodile attacks on people occur frequently, leading to people being injured or killed, which in turn prompts retaliatory actions against crocodiles. However, despite the negative impact of such interactions on both people and crocodiles, little is known about the spatio-temporal patterns of crocodile attacks or environmental conditions under which attacks occur. We collected information about crocodile attacks on people that occurred during 2000-2020, including the date, time, season and location of attacks, the age of victims and the activities they were carrying out when attacks occurred, and water conditions during attacks. We analysed these data to discern patterns and trends of crocodile attacks on people. Attacks occurred in clear as well as turbid water, and nearly half of all reported attacks were at night or in the early morning. The locations with the highest number of recorded attacks were Nyanyana and Charara lakeside, and the fewest attacks occurred at Andora harbour. Most victims were 26-40 years old, and most were attacked in the dry-hot season, while they were fishing. Our findings can be used to design area-specific mitigation strategies to reduce negative human-crocodile interactions.