Villagers lose livestock to lions, hyenas
Admore Mbonda in Hurungwe
Some villagers in parts of Hurungwe district are counting their losses after lions and hyenas attacked their livestock.
At least nine cattle and goats have been killed by lions which have been roaming in the Kazangarare-Dete area between June and July this year.
Villagers interviewed recently said they were living in fear of the predators which have been attacking cattle, goats and donkeys at night while they are asleep.
“We are no longer sleeping at night because we have to protect our animals from hyenas,” said one of the affected villagers, Mrs Mercy Tembo of Vuti. She said there was a possibility of lions patrolling the area. The affected areas are along the buffer zone between villages and Chitindiva Village 2 headman Ms Flora Butau said people were now living in fear of losing their livestock and being attacked by hyenas.
“Last week, three cattle were killed in Chitindiva area. The following day, a farmer lost 10 goats in Kabidza area. Several villagers have lost goats as well,” said Mrs Butau.
Zimbabwe Parks and Wildlife Management Authority (Zimparks) spokesperson Mr Tinashe Farawo assured villagers in the affected areas that the authority would soon deploy rangers to manage the situation.
He said villagers should not take the law in their own hands.
“These areas are prone to wild animals, and unfortunately during this time of the year villagers normally move their cattle to mountains. I am encouraging people to also look after their cattle while we look into the issue,” said Mr Farawo.
The elephant population, he said, was now over 85 000 against a carrying capacity of about 40 000 resulting in them encroaching on settlements in areas such as Hwange, Mola and Masvingo.
Mr Farawo said Zimparks had put in place mechanisms to ensure communities living near game parks benefit from their natural resources.
“Our mandate is to see communities benefiting from these animals. They must see the presence of animals as opportunities for infrastructural development, including building of clinics and roads.”