Communities in Nkhota-kota, Mzimba, Salima and Ntchisi that surround Nkhotakota Game Reserve have expressed concern over rampant Tsetse flies in their areas which they say are posing a threat to human beings and animals.
Speaking during a meeting for the game reserve’s Joint Liaison Committee (JLC), Chief Chilooka of Ntchisi said a number of cattle in his area are showing signs of sleeping sickness (Trypanosomiasis) which is transmitted through Tsetse flies.
According to Chilooka, six cattle have already died during the past week due to the disease.
“We suspect that the tsetse flies which are coming from the game reserve are responsible for the outbreak of sleeping sickness,” said Chilooko.
He asked African Parks (AP), an organization responsible for the rehabilitation of the reserve, to help the communities by getting rid of the parasitic flies.
According to Parks Manager, Samuel Kamoto, African Parks was trying to control the situation, though acknowledged it was not easy.
“We are trying our best to find effective ways of addressing the challenge. We have put 90 Tsetse fly targets to trap the flies but elephants are pulling them down. Recently, we have identified new sites through which we believe we will trap the flies and in the same way the elephants will not tamper with the targets.
“Basically, the park would like to eliminate the Tsetse flies as soon as possible because they put tourists off. The visitors refrain from coming into the country because they are usually afraid of being infected.
“Our main aim is to rehabilitate the reserve so that it attracts visitors from all over the world, hence the need to sort out the Tsetse fly issue,” he said.
The meeting was attended by chiefs, District Commissioners and stakeholders from the four districts.