Land and Resources, Environmental Issues
black rhinoceros, World Heritage Convention, dieldrin, African elephant, safari parks
Zimbabwe was among the first African nations to formulate a coherent conservation strategy, introduced in 1987. About 7.9 percent (1997) of the country’s land is protected in a system that includes national parks, wildlife reserves, safari parks, and other areas. The government officially views the promotion of wildlife management as an economic form of sustainable resource use, and the country has a strong record of involving local people in the management of national parks, wildlife reserves, and other protected areas. Poaching is a serious threat, especially to valuable endangered species such as the black rhinoceros and African elephant. The government protects some animal reserves with armed wardens.
Explosive population growth in the 1980s put significant pressure on agriculture and land use in Zimbabwe. Overfarming and overgrazing have led to soil erosion. Widespread pesticide contamination—especially from the dieldrin and DDT used in tsetse fly control—has significantly affected wildlife and human health.
Zimbabwe participates in the World Heritage Convention, and the country has also signed international environmental agreements pertaining to biodiversity, climate change, endangered species, and the ozone layer. Zimbabwe shares several transborder protected areas with its neighbors Botswana and Zambia.
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