BIKITA – Villagers in Bikita are paying for the crimes of some members of their community who stole 100km of fence from Save Valley Conservancy as stray lions now run amok terrorising several wards in the district.
Stray lions have paid unwelcome visits to Wards 19 to 31, Ward 25 Councillor Aron Mandondo has said.
These predators are attacking cattle and also placing people's lives in danger.
Luke Njiva the Zimbabwe Parks and Wildlife Management Authority (Zimparks) manager for Masvingo confirmed the reports. He said the problem is caused by a long stretch of fence that has been stolen by some villagers.
Njiva however, said that the area was not under the responsibility of the National Parks but Bikita Rural District Council.
"The area is under Bikita RDC and we are merely assisting.
"Yes we have sent a team to assist but it's becoming hard to trap the lions since the fence which used to cover the Conservancy from Birchenough Bridge to Chiredzi, a distance of more than 100km was stolen by the same community that needs our help," said Njiva.
Njiva advised villagers to build recommended kraals and immediately inform Parks and not to remove carcasses so that it will be easy for Parks to track down the lions.
Bikita RDC CEO Peter Chibi said, "Our responsibility is to call Zimbabwe Parks and Wildlife Management Authority a Government arm responsible for wild animals in Zimbabwe".
Mandondo, a villager told The Mirror in an interview that the lions have been causing havoc since 2009.
There are also other animals such as elephants, pigs, buffaloes feeding on villagers' grains and crops, said Simon Chitetema, a villager.