BY NHAU MANGIRAZI
BODIES of two villagers killed by a hippopotamus along the Gache Gache River in Kariba were retrieved at the weekend.
The two were killed by the hippo early Friday morning while tending to their vegetable gardens.
The body of Nhamo Munhira (40) was retrieved late Saturday afternoon, while his uncle, Stewart Bumhira was retrieved yesterday morning.
Both were from Nyamhunga village in ward 2, Kariba rural, Zimbabwe Parks and Wildlife Management Authority (Zimparks) spokesperson Tinashe Farawo has confirmed.
“It is unfortunate that two lives have been lost in Gache Gache and they were killed by a hippo. Our rescue team, including rangers, was on the ground after they were alerted. I can confirm that the body of the second person was retrieved on Sunday morning,” Farawo told NewsDay.
He, however, said the rangers put down the problem animal.
“As Zimparks, we value human life and we have killed the hippo. As per our mandate, we will strive in resolving human and animal conflict so that lives are not lost.”
According to sources, the deceased were tending to their vegetable gardens around 2am on Friday when a hippo attacked and pulled them into the river.
Fellow villagers and fishermen alerted authorities including Zimparks and the police.
Gache Gache Fishermen Association chairperson Tichaona Manzungu, who was part of the rescue team, appealed to Zimparks to cull the hippos and crocodiles, whose numbers have grown.
“Culling of hippos was last done in the late 1960s and crocodiles have not been killed by authorities, further putting lives of fishermen at risk,” he said.
In a related case, a 49-year-old Shamva woman on Thursday last week cheated death after she was mauled by a crocodile while fishing at Douglyn Farm in Shamva as cases of human-wildlife conflict rise.
Pondani Emery was casting her nets when she wrestled with the reptile that had bitten into her arm and eventually overpowered it before swimming to safety.
She was rushed to Shamva Hospital after the attack, where she is, however, now stranded after the hospital demanded US$59 for treatment.
Mashonaland Central deputy spokesperson Assistant Inspector Petros Masikati said he was yet to receive the report.
In an unrelated, case a 16-year-old Chipadze High School boy was yesterday found hanging from a tree branch at Zaoga Prayer Mountain by church members in Bindura.
Police said they are still withholding the name of the deceased until his next of kin are advised.