Noah Pito Herald Correspondent
One of two stray lions that terrorised parts of Hurungwe West, killing nine cattle and a donkey over the past two weeks, has been killed.
The animal was gunned down last Thursday during a joint operation between Hurungwe Rural District Council (HRDC) and Zimbabwe Parks and Wildlife Management Authority officials.
HRDC chief executive officer Mr Joram Moyo said killing of one of the two bachelors that had terrorised Wards 15 and 24 over the past two weeks did not mean total relief for the villagers since the other one was still in the wild.
Apart from disturbing villagers from doing their normal daily duties, Mr Moyo said the cats had ‘imposed a curfew’ on school children who had to dismiss early in fear of the marauding cats.
“Over the past two weeks the lions killed nine head of cattle and a donkey in Wards 15 and 24 (Rengwe and Deve Point 4). As council, we deployed a team of six trained rangers who included some from National Parks.
“The team managed to shoot down one of the two bachelors in Deve Point 4 during the early morning of Thursday while the other one escaped.
“The team is still searching for the remaining rogue lion and we hope they will get it soon,” said Mr Moyo.
“There have been reports of villagers retiring to bed early fearing attacks from the marauding cats.
“This has in fact disturbed villagers’ normal farming duties with some parents in the affected areas also stopping their children from going to school.
“The presence of the lions in the area has seriously disrupted business over the past two weeks,” said Mr Moyo.
Honest Mashoko (49) of Gono village in Deve Point 4, who stays near the spot where the lion was shot down said schools in the area were dismissing children early while some children who walked long distances had since stopped attending classes.
“In fact at our local schools here children are being dismissed at 2pm following the curfew imposed by these killer animals.
“People here believe the lions strayed from nearby Tashinga National Park in Gokwe.
“Last night we did not sleep well.
“The remaining lion spent the whole night roaring at the spot where rangers killed the other one on Thursday morning,” said Mr Mashoko.
Mr Mashoko said the most affected villages in Deve Point 4 were Gono, Muzanadzo, Tafirenyika, Mabhena and Mubvumbi.
Business briefly came to a halt at Magunje Growth Point last Thursday afternoon as people, including school children from three schools at the growth point, thronged HRDC offices jostling to see the dead cat in transit to Marongora National Park Camp.