A 43-YEAR-OLD railway line tracker at the National Railways of Zimbabwe (NRZ) was killed by a lion in Dete, authorities have confirmed.
Matabeleland North police spokesperson Chief Inspector Siphiwe Makonese identified the deceased as Thomas Mupusa of NRZ staff quarters in Dete.
“Police received a report about a body that was found near the Railway Line at Kennedy Railway Siding and is suspected to have been killed by lions,” said Chief Insp Makonese.
She said police and rangers from the Zimbabwe National Parks and Wildlife Management Authority found Mupusa’s body with scars all over while the right leg was mauled and intestines protruding.
There were lion spoors and struggle marks around the body while vultures had also eaten some flesh from the body.
Mupusa allegedly left his home on Tuesday night going for duty at Kennedy Railway Siding south-east of Hwange Main Camp in Hwange National Park.
“On March 3 at 2AM Mupusa boarded a train at Dete Station to his workplace at Kennedy Railway Siding. On March 5 Mr Clement Moyo who was manning a boom gate at Kennedy Railway Siding saw vultures circling in the sky about 600 metres away from the gate. He went to the place and found some clothes and a wireless radio used by NRZ operators,” said Chief Insp Makonese.
Mr Moyo alerted police and rangers who attended the scene and found the body. The body was about 50 metres away from the railway line and there was also a pair of shoes next to it.
It was taken to Hwange Colliery Hospital waiting for transfer to Bulawayo for post-mortem.
Zimparks spokesperson Mr Tinashe Farawo said efforts to address human-wildlife conflict must be intensified.
“It’s true that a person was killed by a lion and we are investigating the circumstances around the issue.
This is one of the issues we always raise that our parks are overpopulated and because of that people are being killed. Last year we lost 40 people who were killed by wildlife because of human-wildlife conflict hence we have to make sure people benefit from wildlife than to lose property and lives,” he said.
Zimparks identified crocodiles, elephants and lions as the major contributors to human deaths last year.