The love for wild rabbit and hare meat by young villagers in Wedza is fuelling the spread of veld fires in the district.
This emerged after farmers and villagers complained that meat-craving young hunters have been using fire, burning large tracts of land for the purpose of hunting for the bucks and does.
The farmers have since appealed to the state agency, the Environmental Management Agency (EMA) to intervene and address the problem.
“We are saddened to note that the hunting of hare has resulted in the destruction of large tracts of land due to veld fires in Wedza. The hunters are unscathed with their acts and we, therefore, appeal for their arrests,” reads part of a message circulating in social media platforms in the district.
EMA Mashonaland East provincial information officer Astas Mabwe confirmed hunting was one of the major causes of veld fires.
“In our findings, hunting is one of the contributors to veld fires. The hunters usually want a clear area where they can hunt easily. Hence, they burn and flee from the scene knowing that if a sizeable hectarage is burnt, hunting won’t be difficult for them,” he said.
“On the same issue, we have honey mongers in farming communities. They also use fire in extracting honey during the night hence fuelling veld fires.”
Mabwe added the major cause of veld fires was land clearing.
Mashonaland East is one of the leading provinces in veld fires due to availability of both A1 and A2 farmers.
According to EMA veld fires destroy more than one million hectares of land each year in Zimbabwe.