2 June 2013

Zimbabwe: Lions, Buffaloes Wreak Havoc in Buhera

Buhera — Villagers in Buhera South under Chief Chamutsa have bemoaned massive killing of their livestock by lions escaping from Devuli Game Park, after the fence was vandalised by poachers.

Speaking to Standardcommunity last week Gunura Primary School head, Tenson Sibiya confirmed that scores of livestock had been devoured by lions in the past few months.

He however, could not give exact figures of cattle, donkeys and goats that have been eaten so far.

The most affected villages included Chikova, Gunura, Chinyamatikiti, Zindoga and Kufakwatedzi, areas which are near the park.

"It is now easy for animals to intrude into the villages because the fence was vandalised by poachers. Buffaloes and lions are coming into the neighbouring communities," said Sibiya. "Some villagers have been seeing a lioness with three cubs recently. The lioness makes sure that it comes into the villages almost every night killing cattle or goats to feed its cubs."

One villager, Norwell Mhandu claimed that he has attended a funeral of a man who was attacked and killed by a buffalo while herding cattle.

"In Chikova [village], a buffalo killed a man who was herding his cattle early this year. I even attended the funeral.

"Officials from the park managed to drive back the buffaloes into the game park. However, more still needs to be done to get rid of the lions," he said.

Mhandu said villagers were now living in fear of the lions and buffaloes.

"Poachers are cutting the fence and although the park authorities have been trying by all means to maintain it, the cutting is excessive, so the animals end up escaping and getting into villages," he said.

Sibiya said game rangers have been trying their best to drive away the predators but to no avail.

"We now have a curfew this side. We no longer walk at night or early in the morning," Sibiya said, "I think if the fence is electrified, poachers will not be able to intrude or cut the fence at the same time the fence will scare away animals from going out."

Early this year, three lions wreaked havoc in Kariba killing two people on separate occasions. They were later shot by officials from National Parks.

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