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Woman loses arm in hyena attack

by Staff reporter
03 Nov 2022 at 07:19hrs | Views
In the second such case to be recorded in Masvingo province this year, a 38-year-old woman from Gutu last Wednesday lost her left hand and big toe of the left leg after being attacked by a hyena.

Joice Marutaya of Matendere village under Chief Mataruse is recovering at Masvingo General Hospital after being attacked by the lone hyena around 7am in her garden on the banks of Nyazvidzi River.

It is suspected that the same hyena had wreaked havoc in the neighbourhood the previous night destroying a makeshift engine room belonging to another villager as evidenced by footprints around the site, as well as attacking cattle belonging to Marutaya's neighbours, who woke up to find the livestock mauled around their mouths and noses.

The neighbours had feared going out in the night as the cattle were bellowing in distress during the attack.

Narrating her ordeal, which has turned her life into a nightmare, from her hospital bed on Tuesday, the mother of four said she had gone to water vegetables in her garden when the incident occurred.

She said soon after entering the garden, she noticed the hyena busy tearing into a worn out bomber jacket a few metres away.

"I realised something was amiss because the animal was behaving strangely and I immediately crouched to avoid being spotted, but as soon as it was through with the jacket, it sauntered towards the garden entrance and I knew it was coming for me," she said.

"I dashed to grab a hoe to try and defend myself but as I turned soon after picking it up, the hyena was upon me, tearing into my left hand."

Marutaya said she struck out at the hyena while screaming for help. The hyena then bit the hoe handle while she fell to the ground. At the same time the hoe came off the handle.

As she dived for the hoe handle, the hyena went for her left hand again, snapping it off clean from her forearm. Using her right hand which had also suffered some injuries, Marutaya kept hitting the hyena which had now turned to her legs, biting off chunks of flesh and big toe on her left leg.

Some neighbours who were inspecting livestock by their pen responded to her screams for help and rushed to the garden and managed to scare off the hyena.

"It ran into a nearby mangrove, but as people were busy trying to help me, it came back at full speed only to come to a screeching halt by the garden entrance after facing a barrage of stones being thrown by my rescuers," said Marutaya.

"It ran back into the mangrove, but as they were carrying me out the garden entrance, it came back again, but because of the commotion, it retreated for the second time. By then my husband had arrived with a scotch cart to take me to the main road."

Meanwhile, her brother from the neighbouring Munyikwa area was coming with a car to meet them at the main road and rushed her to Chin'ai clinic.

Nurses at the clinic attended to her inside her brother's car said they could not do much for her other than giving her a single injection, advising that she be rushed to a bigger hospital where her excessive bleeding could be stopped.

Her brother then drove her to Silveira Mission Hospital where she was bandaged and stabilised, after which she was taken to Masvingo General Hospital in a waiting ambulance.

In Masvingo it took some time for her to get full treatment until after well wishers who included her relatives, fellow congregants of the Johane Masowe Jerusalema sect pooled US$693 to buy the necessary drugs.

Marutaya said officials from the Zimbabwe Parks and Wildlife Authority (ZimParks) had visited her in hospital but did not say or give her any assistance although they had promised to come back.

Meanwhile back home, the neighbours who rescued her called for reinforcements from fellow villagers and managed to kill the hyena.

Marutaya said her village, which is at the base of Maumbe Mountain on the border between Gutu and Buhera districts, had recently been recorded incidents of livestock being attacked by wild animals, especially hyenas.

Another villager from the same district, Munodya Muchanyara had both her hands amputated after she was also attacked by a rogue hyena in August this year.

Meanwhile, in a related development the government has established a fund to assist victims of human-wildlife conflict through paying medical expenses and where death occurs, funeral assistance costs.

Information, Publicity and Broadcasting Services Minister Monica Mutsvangwa announced the development on Tuesday during a post-Cabinet briefing.

Mutsvangwa said Cabinet had arrived at the decision after noting the increasing incidents of human-wildlife conflict in the country.


Source - New Ziana.