Commercial Farmers Union of Zimbabwe

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Mystery surrounds 11 hippos death

Mystery surrounds 11 hippos death

Leonard Ncube, Victoria Falls Reporter
AT least 11 hippos have died under unclear circumstances in Binga’s Mlibizi area near the Zambezi River.

The Zimbabwe Parks and Wildlife Management Authority (Zimparks) has launched an investigation into the matter.

While the cause of death has not yet been established, locals suspect that the hippos ate poisoned vegetables in gardens along the river bank.

Zimparks spokesperson Mr Simukai Nyasha confirmed the discovery of eight carcasses on Sunday and Monday while sources in the area put the figure at 11.

“On the 2nd of April, six carcasses of hippos were found in the Mlibizi area of Binga. Three of the carcasses were discovered in the Kavira Forestry area while the other three were on Binga Rural District Council communal land. An additional two hippos were discovered dead in the same area on the 3rd of April,” said Mr Nyasha.

The carcasses were found in the Mlibizi safari area in Sebungwe where Mlibizi River feeds into the Zambezi River.

Mr Nyasha said a team comprising Zimparks rangers, police, Communal Areas Management Programmes for Indigenous Resources (Campfire), Veterinary Department as well as Environmental Management Agency was dispatched to the area to investigate the matter and establish the cause of the deaths.

As of yesterday the team was still on the ground.

“Local officers conducted investigations but could not ascertain the cause of deaths. A team comprising of officials from Parks, EMA, police and Veterinary Department has been dispatched to the site to investigate the possible causes of these hippo mortalities,” said Mr Nyasha.

Meanwhile, Zimparks has warned people against feeding on meat from the carcasses.

“The Parks and Wildlife Management Authority would like to advise people to desist from consuming meat from dead wild animals. We are not aware of what caused the death of such animals and consuming the meat can be fatal since the deaths may be due to highly poisonous substances or dangerous animal diseases that are harmful to human life,” he said.

Over the past three years, dozens of elephants have died due to suspected cyanide poisoning allegedly administered by poachers in Hwange National Park and the Zambezi Valley.

Some illegal hunters have been arrested and charged with poaching and possessing cyanide.

— @ncubeleon

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