Lions cause havoc in Lupane
A pride of lions is reportedly causing havoc in parts of Lupane, Matabeleland North, where herds of cattle belonging to different farmers have been killed.
Children have not been to school as villagers fear they might be attacked by the lions.
Villagers suspect there could be a pride of 22 lions that has been camped in the area.
Mr Ziboniso Phumuzile Dube, a villager from BH 66 Mdlankunzi Village in Dandanda under Chief Gumede said the lions have been camped in the area since last month.
He said Matshokotsha Ward including areas around Dandanda, Mzola amd BMC are the worst affected.
The lions are suspected to have either strayed from Gwampa area or crossed from Hwange National Park west of Lupane.
“We have a crisis in Lupane where a pride of lions has been killing cattle and as we speak, many villagers have lost their cattle.
Children are no longer going to school after some learners attending school at Zenzele Secondary recently saw the lions. Villagers have also stopped attending church services for fear of being attacked along the way,” said Mr Dube.
He said the pride killed six cattle belonging to two villagers and left one cow injured a few days ago.
Mr Dube, who was speaking while on his way to South Africa, said the affected areas have network challenges as there is no mobile network signal hence reporting the cases takes time.
Villagers sometimes walk to a nearby hill where there is network coverage when they want to make or receive calls but the presence of the lions now makes it difficult.
“Recently, some boys were herding cattle in Kajijima when they spotted one lion. Villagers tracked it down and noticed they were 22 of them.
“They alerted rangers in Lupane who managed to capture five of the lions. Many people in BMC, Chipale, Dandanda, Mzola, Kawindi and Bhimba have lost cattle.
Villagers have started contributing money to buy fuel for a private hunter to come and drive away the lions after Zimparks (Zimbabwe Parks and Wildlife Management Authority) rangers said they had no fuel,” he said.
Mr Dube said South Africa based villagers from the area were also contributing money which will be sent to the community to help drive away the animals.
Zimbabwe Parks and Wildlife Management Authority
Incidents of human wildlife conflict have been prevalent in communities closer to game parks and last week, villagers in Kenilworth in Bubi said they had lost their maize crop to elephants.
“We are appealing to Government to help address the challenge because people can’t move freely,” he said.
Zimparks spokesperson Mr Tinashe Farawo had not responded to questions regarding the issue by the time of going to print.
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