HARARE – A three-year-old girl was killed and eaten by two lions in Chiredzi last weekend, while her brother was left fighting for his life in hospital.
The Zimbabwe Parks and Wildlife Management Authority (ZimParks) confirmed the incident, saying they had people on the ground investigating the incident.
“The incident happened on Saturday night as the family was preparing supper around 6pm..
“It occurred after the mother sent her 12-year-old son who was piggybacking his…sister to get mealie-meal from the bedroom, which was a few metres away.
“As they returned to the kitchen, they were attacked and the sister was ripped off from the back while the brother managed to escape into the kitchen,” said ZimParks public relations manager, Tinashe Farawo.
“The mother called to neighbours but it was too late and only the head and intestines were left,” he said, adding that “the boy is admitted at Chiredzi hospital”.
Farawo said the same lions, which had attacked goats the previous day, went on to attack cattle, killing one that same night.
“We are on the ground attending to the issues and to capture and relocate them. In some cases we eliminate them as a last resort.
“One of our biggest challenges is funding so that we effectively deal with human and wildlife conflict,” he said.
Twenty six percent of Zimbabwe is occupied by wildlife, with some of the habitat fenced while some is not.
This comes as the conflict between humans and animals is common in Chiredzi, with a 10-year-old having been killed in July this year.
The incident also happened on a Saturday night and her body was later found about 300 metres away from the home. Chief Maranda of nearby Mwenezi has appealed to the national parks authorities to help after stray lions killed livestock belonging to villagers this year.
Earlier this year, a man was also attacked by lions but managed to escape.
Farawo said there was need to keep educating villagers on the dangers posed by wildlife, and urged them to keep vigilant and avoid travelling at night.