Chivi — Several villagers in Chivi have lost their livestock to a pride of lions believed to have escaped from a nearby conservancy over three weeks ago.
The villagers said they had since limited their movements especially at night, for fear for their lives.
One of the villagers, Tapiwa Mukusha of ward 16 in Phwanyayi area under Chief Masunda, said a lion was recently shot by officials from the Parks and Wildlife Management Authority.
This leaves four others roaming in the area, he said.
"While the lions have not yet reached our village, people in neighbouring villages like Chakawa, Makani and Gwitima villages under Chief Chipindu have lost their cattle and other livestock to the lions," said Mukusha. "We hear the lions roaring even though we have not yet seen them. But our neighbours say they often see their paws when a beast has been attacked."
Parks and Wildlife Management Authority director-general Vitalis Chadenga last week said they had sent a team of officials to investigate the matter.
"If this is confirmed, it will not be the first time that lions escaped from Simply Wild Conservancy," said Chadenga. "We are engaging the new owners so that they can manage that conservancy well and secure the animals. But we have sent a team on the ground to investigate." The owners of the conservancy could not be reached for comment.
This is the second time that stray lions have caused havoc in Masvingo.
In February this year, a pride of about four lions that strayed from Devuli Ranch Conservancy in Bikita district reportedly killed about 20 beasts in a month.