By A Correspondent- Residents at Lupane Centre are living in fear after stray elephants, one of them with a calf, were spotted in the area on Tuesday.
While the presence of elephants is not new in Lupane as the area is adjacent to the Hwange National Park with vast conservancies around, the visit by the jumbos this time of the year is not common, according to authorities in Lupane District.
Rangers from Kusile Rural District Council (KRDC)’s Communal Areas Management Programme for Indigenous Resources (Campfire) quickly mobilised and hunted down the elephants following reports that a herd of three including a calf had been spotted along the Victoria Falls highway near Mabhikwa High School while another with a calf had been spotted in Ndengwende village near Lupane Police Camp.
Rangers shot dead a bull at Madojwa village a few kilometres from Lupane centre yesterday.
The ones that were spotted near Mabhikwa High School at the layby reportedly moved past the Grain Marketing Board Lupane depot and residential areas.
Various stakeholders under the auspices of the Civil Protection Unit conducted awareness campaigns telling residents and school children to be on the lookout of the jumbos.
KRDC acting chief executive Mr Wellington Mthembo yesterday said one bull had been shot down.
“I am not sure about the authenticity of the one with a calf but what I can confirm is that a bull was shot at Madojwa village by rangers,” he said.
Mr Mthembo said the presence of elephants is not unusual in Lupane.
“People in Lupane have co-existed with elephants for a long time. There are indigenous forests which are habitat to elephants so they always come out. The only issue now is when they come closer to the community and the frequency which is getting higher. Usually, they come during the cropping season,” said Mr Mthembo.
Lupane Residents Association chair Mr Christopher Mazibisa implored residents and villagers to be alert.
“Reports came through that the elephants were seen closer to Lupane centre and passed near Mtshibini School which is a danger to children. However, rangers shot one down and we hope this brings relief to people but we encourage everyone to ensure they are safe each time,” he said.
Zimbabwe Parks and Wildlife Management Authority spokesperson Mr Tinashe Farawo said he was yet to get a report.
Incidents of wildlife especially elephants roaming around human settlements have become common in areas near national parks.