By Noah Pito
One of the two stray lions that killed 12 cattle and four donkeys in Hurungwe West over the past five weeks, has been gunned down. The killer lion was shot dead around 9pm last Friday after Hurungwe Rural District Council (HRDC) engaged a professional hunter to kill the elusive predator that had imposed a “curfew” on villagers in Ward 24. The lion is one of adult males that strayed into Deve Point 4 area (Ward 24) last month before killing nine cattle and a donkey in the space of two weeks.
HRDC organised a joint operation with the National Parks and Wildlife Authority to kill the cats.
The team of rangers only managed to kill one lion, while the other escaped.
The runaway lion continued to terrorise the area and killed three cattle and two donkeys by last Friday.
The shooting of the cat was accompanied by wild celebrations in Deve Point 4 where villagers said order and normalcy had been restored.
Of late, in Deve Point 4 where both lions were gunned down, some villagers had resorted to penning their cattle and donkeys in kitchen huts and tobacco barns, to secure them from the ferocious cat.
Others without such option were now sleeping close to cattle pens using bonfires to scare away the rogue lion.
Mr Honest Mashoko (49) of Gono Village in Deve Point 4, who lives close to the spot where the lion was killed, said peace had now been restored in the area since villagers could do their normal duties without any fear.
Apart from disturbing villagers from doing their normal daily duties, Mr Mashoko said the rogue lion had continued to roar almost every night, patrolling the villages, thereby imposing a curfew on schoolchildren who had to dismiss early in fear of the marauding cat.
“The area had turned into the lion’s territory, the reason why people had resorted to using kitchen huts, barns, or even bedrooms as cattle pens,” he said.
“That was the only way left to secure our livestock. Others who had no choice had to sleep at the cattle pens with huge bonfires to scare away the lion. It had become dangerous to send children to school although we continued to do so.
HRDC chief executive officer Mr Joram Moyo said it was council’s duty to ensure that problem animals in the communities were dealt with, particularly for the safety of life and property.
“It is our mandate as council to ensure that problem animals are quickly dealt with each time they stray into our communities,” he said.
The terror lion was aged about seven years and weighed over 200 kilogrammes.