BY RICHARD MUPONDE
CHIEF Shana of Jambezi, Hwange, has accussed the Zimbabwe Parks and Wildlife Management Authority (ZimParks) of not doing enough to protect villagers whose livestock have been decimated by lions and hyenas.
Villagers have lost close to 100 animals, which include donkeys, cattle and goats to the predators that stray from Hwange National Park.
The farmers said, as a result of the attacks, they no longer have animals for draught power.
The presence of the carnivores in the area has also sent panic waves among the villagers, who now fear for their lives.
“The problem of lions and hyenas has given us sleepless nights. They have robbed us of our livestock and each passing day they kill a number of our livestock. This pride of lions and the pack of hyenas could have strayed from the game park. We have lost livestock reaching about 100 in the past two months,” Chief Shana said.
He accused ZimParks rangers of not doing enough to protect them from the marauding predators, even after reporting the cases.
“I advised them about the problem, but there isn’t much that they have done. They should pull up their socks to save the villagers’ livestock. They came here and found one lioness and they left it saying they can’t shoot it because it has cubs. Yesterday (Sunday), I received a call from the resettlement areas that it killed goats to feed its cubs.
The report was made at ZimParks Matetsi Camp,” he said.
ZimParks spokesperson, Tinashe Farawo yesterday said he was investigating the matter, but urged communities to secure their livestock pens.
“I will check whether the report was made. However, we have been doing awareness campaigns in these wildlife corridors for villagers and farmers to secure their pens. They should also report to us on sighting the predators and we will respond within three hours of that report. We want to keep our communities safe, but they should also desist from driving their livestock to graze in game parks,” Farawo said.
The affected areas include Matetsi and Jambezi, while reports also say areas like Mvutu, Milonga and Sidinda under Chief Mvutu were also a hunting ground for the predators.
Villagers living on the borders of the country’s largest game reserve, Hwange National Park, have had perennial conflicts with wildlife.