BY SILAS NKALA
A 16-YEAR-OLD schoolboy from ward 22, Bulilima in Matabeleland South province survived a hippopotamus attack that left him severely wounded while on his way to school on Wednesday.
Villagers said the boy was walking to school with his dog when he encountered the wild animal.
“The dog started barking, prompting the agitated hippo to charge towards the boy. The scuffle resulted in the boy sustaining a deep cut on the left hand,” a villager said.
Provincial police spokesperson Inspector Loveness Mangena confirmed the incident.
Villagers said the boy was taken to Madlambudzi Clinic.
Bulilima Rural District Council and the Zimbabwe National Parks and Wildlife Management Authority (ZimParks) teamed up and killed the hippo.
ZimParks spokesperson Tinashe Farawo recently said communities should alert them whenever they encounter problem animals.
“When communities see wildlife in their areas, they must reach out to us and when that is done, we always reach the areas on time to avert the situation,” Farawo said.
Civic society organisation, Habakkuk Trust expressed concern over rising incidents of human-wildlife conflict in Bulilima district. It said in 2019, the district recorded a fatal incident after elephants trampled a man in Huwana.
“Settlements on wildlife corridors and destruction of a boundary electric fence separating wildlife and human populations are among the major causes of human-wildlife conflicts in Bulilima district.
“The situation has also been worsened by heavy downpours which have enabled semi-aquatic species such as hippos to explore new habitats. Long walking distances to access schools are a risk factor that has resulted in increased susceptibility to attacks among minors,” Habakkuk Trust said in a statement.