Lions, elephants wreak havoc in Hwange, Bulilima

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Fight like a lion, remember life is a battle. You will fight until you get into the grave

STRAY lions and elephants have reportedly wreaked havoc in Matabeleland North and South provinces.

BY PATRICIA SIBANDA /SILAS NKALA

In Jutshume village, Bulilima ward 10, elephants reportedly destroyed the few crops that survived the drought, water sources and infrastructure.

Chief John Shana of Jambezi in Hwange said though he had not received reports of attacks in his area, he had received confirmation from affected villages.

“I haven’t heard anything concerning lions in this area as yet, but what I can tell you is that I was contacted by people from Matetsi and Lubangwe (in Hwange) complaining about lions that are preying on penned goats and cattle,” he said.

“Lions killed five goats in one of the villages. They usually come between 3pm and 4pm. Villagers cannot do anything, but hide in their homes for safety,” he said.

Chief Shana said efforts to get assistance from the Zimbabwe National Parks and Wildlife (ZimParks) officials had not yielded desired results.

ZimParks spokesperson Tinashe Farawo confirmed receiving such reports from the villagers and said rangers had been deployed to the area.

“I have just received the report on that now. We have deployed a team there just now. They have to search for the predators and take them away from the bushes near the community,” he said.

Habakkuk Trust community advocacy action team convenor, Linos Khumalo said the local councillor had since alerted Bulilima Rural District Council (RDC).

“While awaiting help, villagers bang tins and crack whips to scare the elephants from their homesteads,” Khumalo, who is also a village head, said in a report.

Habakkuk Trust is currently assisting the community in coming up with ways of enhancing a timely response from the relevant authorities. The organisation is also working with the community on enhancing local level mechanisms of ensuring enhanced community participation and involvement in natural resource governance.

Bulilima RDC chief executive officer John Brown Ncube said ward 10 was under the Communal Areas Management Programme for Indigenous Resources (Campfire) area and always records cases of human-wildlife conflict.

“Remember, ward 10 is in the Campfire area, that is why there is such human-animal conflict and whenever we have received the reports from there, we have always gone there to assist, but now because we are in lockdown, people are at their homes and we have not received any report for now,” he said.

“I am unable to comment further on that because I have not yet received any report which usually comes through the council chairperson.”

As the jumbos continue to decimate livelihoods, parliamentarians recently proposed contraception as one of the solutions to contain their fast-growing population.