A pride of lions is wreaking havoc in Hurungwe’s Chief Chundu area, killing livestock and terrorising villagers, it has been reported.
Villagers under headman Nyakasikana in the Mayamba area said the lions were targeting donkeys, cattle and goats.
“On Tuesday, two donkeys were killed in the Mayamba area. The following day, a communal farmer lost two head of cattle in the Machecheni area. Several villagers have lost goats as well,” said a villager, Tongai Banda.
Another villager, Robson Taiumu, said they now lived in fear as they were not sure if the lions were not going to attack humans as well.
Zimbabwe Parks and Wildlife Management Authority of Zimbabwe (Zimparks) spokesperson Tinashe Farawo said rangers had since been deployed to capture the predators.
“This is in line with our motto of ‘living in harmony with nature’. We urge villagers not to move near game park areas where lions stroll. 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.”
Farawo said in some of these areas elephants drove away smaller animals like kudus forcing lions to target livestock like cattle as easy prey.
“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.”
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.
Last year, rangers had to come to Chundu to kill another pride of lions that had killed several livestock.
— The Standard