Villagers complain of marauding lions

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ACTING chief Mvuthu in Victoria Falls has expressed concern over lack of compensation for livestock lost to lions and hyenas owned by Zimbabwe Parks and Wildlife Management Authority (Zimparks) amid revelations that 1 343 animals have been killed since last year.

By Nokuthaba Dlamini

Mvuthu said no compensation or tangible effort has been made by ZimParks or the government to people under his jurisdiction.

He said human-wildlife conflict reports were the order of the day.

“Half of 2017 to present, we have received 364 cases of killed beasts (head of cattle), 845 goats and 134 donkeys.

“I am talking about a period of eight months or less and nothing has been done to compensate the victims, but I provide them with the statistics every time,” Mvuthu said.

“Last week, a Woodlands villager came to report that he had lost eight of his cows on separate dates and that is a big blow to people like us who rely on cattle breeding. Our wish is to see people being compensated because this is a huge matter that makes people feel unworthy and unrecognised.”

Mvuthu said the most affected villages were Monde, Woodlands, Chidobe and Kachechete ward.

The hyenas and lions are reportedly attacking goats, donkeys and cattle in grazing areas and kraals.

“On Friday, my suckling goat was attacked by hyenas,” a Chidobe villager said.

“When it came back from grazing, its udder was savaged. It was in agony and we immediately slaughtered it and its kid is likely to die, as it was only a week old. I only had goats and I am just a peasant farmer, so to me it is a huge loss,” Khawulani Mzaza said.

“They attack at any time even in our presence. Those animals are dangerous, so we do nothing as we fear for our lives. We are pleading for help,” another villager said.
Mvuthu said Zimparks rangers would come following reports, but no change has been noted.

Zimparks spokesperson, Tinashe Farawo said matters to do with compensation should be referred to Environment, Water and Climate minister Oppah Muchinguri.

Muchinguri, in an interview recently, said her ministry was in the process of constructing kraals for villagers living in parks vicinities.