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Victoria Falls residents jostle for free elephant meat

by Staff reporter
06 May 2020 at 07:43hrs | Views
THE Zimbabwe National Parks and Wildlife Management Authority (Zimparks) on Sunday gunned down a lone bull elephant that had terrorised Victoria Falls residents for the past month.

The bull would reportedly stray into people's yards in Chinotimba, Mkhosana and Low Density and destroy vegetables in gardens, including at the Victoria Falls Police Station. Recently, it reportedly damaged some window panes at a house at "CBZ stands" and had become a threat to people.

Zimparks rangers gunned it down on Sunday resulting in hundreds of residents scrambling for meat after the wildlife authority allowed them to share.

Zimparks spokesperson Mr Tinashe Farawo said rangers had failed to scare the elephant away.

"We have been deploying our teams for the past month in an effort to scare the bull away but all efforts failed as it seemed the elephant was not moved by any effort to drive it away. We were left with no option but to eliminate it in line with the Parks and Wildlife Act which allows us to do that," said Mr Farawo.

He said incidents of problem animals terrorising people are common in wildlife infested areas but in most cases the wild animals would go away after being driven out of human settlements by rangers. Mr Farawo said Zimparks received numerous calls from Victoria Falls residents about invasion by the jumbo especially at night hence it had to be put down.

Hwange West Member of Parliament Mr Godfrey Dube whose house is a few hundred metres from where the elephant was killed in Mfelandawonye section of Mkhosana, said residents were relieved that the elephant had been killed.

"People are relieved that the elephant has been killed and also because they had access to meat whose price is now beyond reach of many in shops. The elephant had damaged some window panes at a house in the CBZ stands and rangers had to gun it down.
"We made sure we were present with police to enforce social distancing as people came from as far as Chinotimba to queue for the meat," said Mr Dube.

The elephant was shot about five metres away from the last houses in Mfelandawonye. Rangers selected a few men to skin it. There were two long queues, one for men and another for women, stretching about 300 metres each, as people jostled for elephant meat.

Police and members of the Zimbabwe National Army were called in to control the queue and ensure people observe social distancing. Rangers helped the residents share the meat with many getting around a kilogramme or more each, with others also joining the queue more than once.

"I got more than two kilogrammes but after a long struggle as the queue was long. It's not much but it will take us through a few meals," said Ms Beauty Bhebhe of Mfelandawonye. In the afternoon, some residents had put the meat outside to dry in the sun.

Source - chronicle