The government of Zimbabwe’s Wildlife Authority is plotting to violate CITES rules and kill stray lions in Hurungwe.
State Media report
One of the two stray lions that terrorised parts of Hurungwe West, killing 11 cattle and two donkeys over the past three weeks has continued to cause havoc in the area despite the shooting down of its partner by a team of rangers from Hurungwe Rural District Council (HRDC) and the Zimbabwe Parks and Wildlife Authority a fortnight ago.
The rogue lion, which over the past week, killed a donkey and had been sighted or heard roaring during the night in several parts of Deve Point 4 (Ward 24), is now believed to have moved into Ward 17, Mashuma area, where it reportedly killed and devoured a bullock after dragging it for a distance from a cattle pen.
Mr Claudius Mtetwa of Mutinha Village under Chief Nyamhunga yesterday narrated how he discovered the remains of his beast after following a trail from his cattle pen.
“Early morning today (Sunday) my boys told me that last night they heard some moos and unusual sounds from the cattle pen. This prompted us to go there together only to discover that one beast was missing and had been dragged by something very powerful into the tall grasses.
“The trail led us for a distance into a place where we later found a head, feet and some entrails. We, at first thought it could be a hyena but we later concluded that it must be a lion since it does not feed on the entraills of its prey.
“We have informed Hurungwe Rural District Council, who said they will soon be dispatching a team of rangers,” said terrified Mr Mtetwa.
Soon after the shooting down of the other rogue lion a fortnight ago, HRDC chief executive Mr Joram Moyo said the shooting down of one of the two bachelor lions did not mean total relief to the villagers as long as the other lion was still in the wild.
Apart from disturbing villagers from doing their normal daily duties, Mr Moyo said the cats, had also imposed a ‘curfew’ on school children who had to dismiss early from school in fear of the marauding cat.
Mr Honest Mashoko (49) of Gono Village in Deve Point 4 who stays close to the spot where one of the bachelors was shot down by the rangers a fortnight ago, said everyone in the area thought peace had prevailed in the area only to discover that the lion had still remained in the area.
“In fact, the following night, after its partner was shot down, we did not sleep well as it spent the whole night roaring at the spot where rangers had killed the other one.
“Three or four days later, it killed a donkey in the nearby Gorekore Village. We are staying in fear of the cat. Our local schools here are dismissing children as early as 2pm following the curfew imposed by these killer animals. The freedom of coming home late from beer drinks is no more as most people now barricade their doors as early as 6pm,” said Mr Mashoko.
According to HRDC, affected villages in Deve Point 4 include Gono, Muzanadzo, Tafirenyika, Mabhena and Mubvumbi.