Lions terrorise Hwange villagers

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Hwange — Thirteen cattle were recently devoured by a pride of lions in Hwange West, Chief Shana’s area where elephants are also reportedly roaming freely and destroying villagers’ crops.

In an interview on the sidelines of a ceremony at Hwange Police Station on Monday where Matabeleland North police commander Senior Assistant Commissioner Edmore Veterai handed over goodies to Chief Shana, the traditional leader said the wild animals had been a menace since last year.

“My three donkeys were devoured last week and villagers in Mbizha and Siduda Wards lost a total of 13 cattle,” the chief said.

“The predators are choosing big beasts and it has really affected us as we cannot do anything ourselves to save the situation since we rely on officials from the Parks and Wildlife Management Authority.”

He said last week rangers gunned down one of the seven lions terrorising the area.

“However, they (rangers) have since gone back to the (Hwange) National Park and haven’t come back leaving us at the mercy of the lions,” he said.

“The whole area is gripped with fear and movement by people is restricted for fear of being attacked.”

The chief appealed to government to intervene and give powers to the local police to deal with problem animals.

“This will help us a lot as parks officials live far away from the villages and it takes them long to attend to our problems,” he said.

“However, if the police, who live among us are allowed to shoot the animals, the problem can be solved with speed.”

Chief Shana said a herd of elephants was also destroying crops in the Tshikandakubi area, another ward under his jurisdiction.

Veterai said much as they empathise with the villagers, their hands were tied because the Parks and Wildlife Managnment Authority was the only body that can deal with problem animals.

“We urge you to lobby the leadership so that we are given powers to deal with such situations,” he said.