Admore Mbonda in Karoi
A pride of lions is attacking and killing livestock and terrorising villagers in Chief Chundu’s area of Hurungwe.
Villagers under headman Kachingamire in the Mayamba area said the lions were targeting donkeys, cattle and goats.
“Last week, two head of cattle were killed in the Mayamba area,” said a villager, Maxwell Chijani. “The following day, a communal farmer also lost two head of cattle in the Kabidza area. Several villagers have lost goats.”
Another villager, Eliot Mshava, said they are now living in fear of being attacked by the lions.
Chief Chundu Abel Mbasera said the ZimParks has since dispatched rangers to the area.
“The rangers came but they failed to kill the lions after they vanished into to nearby forests,” he said. “The lions have been moving with three cubs.”
ZimParks spokesperson Tinashe Farawo said the deployment of the rangers was in line with their motto of encouraging people to live in harmony with nature.
“We urge villagers not to move near game park areas where lions are on the prowl. We have since deployed our rangers to deal with the lions in Hurungwe,” he said.
Farawo said there were other areas where elephants were now in conflict with communities due to their ballooning population in Hwange and Masvingo.
“Our national capacity for elephants is 46 000, but currently we have over 84 000 and this has a negative impact on our environment,” he said.
“Our mandate is to see communities benefiting from these animals. They must see the presence of animals as opportunities in infrastructural development, including building of clinics, roads, and availing drugs, among other projects.”
Mr Farawo said some of these animals migrate to these areas in search of water and also elephants draw smaller animals like kudus, which in turn draw predators that will then go for the easier prey and kill domestic animals.
“This is now a vicious cycle, but we are working hard to educate the communities to live well with wild animals and reduce human-animal conflict,” he said. “We are putting mechanisms in place for communities to benefit from natural resources surrounding these communities.”
Mr Farawo, however, warned villagers to refrain from killing the animals. “We appreciate harmony in nature and urge communities to help us maintain that by not driving their livestock into game areas,” he said.
This year, rangers had to come to Nyamakate to kill another pride of lions and hyenas that had killed several head of livestock.