By Luckmore Safuli
RESIDENTS of Mfelandwonye Suburb in Victoria Falls are breathing a sigh of relief after a bull elephant which has been terrorising them was gunned down by Zimparks rangers over the weekend.
With nearly all of the resort town of Victoria Fall’s residents remaining indoors to slow the spread of COVID-19, wild animals have taken over the empty streets.
One bull elephant, however, decided to take it further by invading Mfelandowonye suburb, perhaps to join hands with the law enforcement agents in ensuring residents comply with lockdown guidelines.
Unlike the trained law enforcement agents, the rogue elephant which to some extent can be credited for keeping residents indoors, suddenly demonstrated its other ugly side when it went on a rampage, destroying residents’ property.
“The elephant has been frequenting this area and terrorizing us. We have had close encounters and only a few days ago it damaged our windows. We have been living in constant fear and always on the lookout,” he said.
Previous attempts by the authorities to scare away the problem animal proved futile.
For the several unlawful entries, destruction of property and for putting residents’ lives in danger, there could only be one outcome for the jumbo, and that is elimination.
“Our officers in Victoria Falls had to put down the problem animal. Over the last month, our rangers were deployed to scare the animal without success and we took the decision to eliminate the animal in order to protect the residents,” said Tinashe Farawo, Zimparks Public Relations manager.
Apart from restoring peace to the streets around Mfelandawonye Suburb, the death of the jumbo proved to be manna from heaven as nearly all the residents got a share of the jumbo’s meat.
There was only one condition for the residents to secure the manna and that is they had to observe social distancing.
“Even though we were confined to our houses due to COVID-19 we got wind of the fact that the problem animal was eliminated and that the authorities were going to give people meat hence we had to rush here,” said residents.
Just like the Israelites in the wilderness who after receiving manna from heaven kept on making more demands, some Mfelandawonye residents had to plead for more freebies apart from the meat.
“Now that we have secured the meat it would be perfect if the government could assist us with mealie meal and cooking oil,” said residents.
The Zimbabwe Parks and Wildlife Management Authority (Zimparks) is mandated to among other things eliminate problem animals that become a threat to human lives.
The authority has also stepped awareness campaigns in response to the rampant human-wildlife conflict cases.
By Luckmore Safuli