Commercial Farmers Union of Zimbabwe

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Stray lions haunt Bikita villagers

Stray lions haunt Bikita villagers

Sydney Mubaiwa in Bikita
A pride of lions believed to have escaped from the Save Valley Conservancy is reportedly on the prowl in Bikita and has killed more than 150 livestock over the past few months.

Villagers in areas adjacent to Save Valley Conservancy are now living in fear of the cats, amid concerns they might also prey on humans, particularly schoolchildren.

The villagers have since sent a distress call to the Parks and Wildlife Management Authority (Zimparks) to deal with the marauding lions that are terrorising areas like Mashoko and Ziki that border the wildlife-infested Save Valley Conservancy.

Bikita East legislator Cde Kennedy Matimba said the lions were mainly pouncing on livestock near the confluence of Save and Devure rivers on the border between Masvingo and Manicaland provinces.

“Stray lions have become a perennial problem here in Bikita,” he said.

“Villagers are now living in fear that they might be attacked, especially their children who go to school using bushy paths.

“We always experience the same problem every year and we urge the relevant authorities to act on the matter.”

Mr Tawanda Gava (42), a villager from Mabika communal lands in Bikita South, said he lost seven cattle and three donkeys to the lions in the space of two months.

“My seven cattle were killed by the lions two months ago,” he said. “These lions have killed over 150 cattle throughout Bikita. We have informed the Bikita Rural District Council and they promised to dispatch rangers, but they never came up to this day.”

Zimparks spokesperson Mr Tinashe Farawo said four teams of rangers had been deployed to handle the situation in the district.

“I was informed about the problem of stray lions that are killing livestock in Bikita and we have already dispatched four teams of game rangers to deal with the problem,” Mr Farawo said.

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