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Elham AbolFateh
AR
Saturday 22 July 2017

Features

Stray Zimbabwe lions pit villagers vs conservationists

Monday 15/May/2017 - 12:30 PM
Sada El Balad
Anadolu Agency

As if maddened by a fresh wound on its head، a huge black bull paced to and fro in a vacant field at one of the rural homes in Chikandakuvi، a village about 60 kilometers north of the Zimbabwean town of Hwange.
The bull’s owner tiptoed closer to the beast in a desperate bid to apply some herbs to stop the wound from getting infected.
“There’s a stray lion here which keeps attacking cattle and so many people have lost their livestock to the lion،” said Ndabezinhle Sibanda، the bull’s owner.
“My bull was just lucky that it only ended with this wound after villagers intervened.”
A stone’s throw from Sibanda’s home، 73-year-old Khethiwe Nyembezi was busy picking at the severed heads and legs and remaining ribs belonging to her three cows، freshly slain by a stray lion.
In her field about a kilometer from her homestead lay hides from Nyembezi’s cows، with giant vultures flocking in the nearby bushes eager to prey on the still-fresh flesh.
“For three days in a row، I lost three cows to a stray lion. Some say the lion came from Hwange National Park، while others say it came from some local safari area. The cows I lost were my sources of income،” she said.
Several Western Zimbabwe villagers here gave chilling testimony of how they lost their cattle to lions، with some telling how they narrowly escaped with their lives.
“Last year when I was herding cattle، a lion just came out of nowhere in the bush and started chasing after one of my cows،” said Melusi Ndlovu، 27، a local herder.
“I tried to scare it away، but it charged at me، and with its paws، scratched the back of my head before some nearby herd boys emerged with barking dogs who scared the lion off into the bush. I almost died that day.”

Edited by rehab sayed

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