Jumbos invade Victoria Falls

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VICTORIA FALLS residents are living in fear of elephants that roam the streets of the resort town’s high-density suburbs at night.

RICHARD MUPONDE
SENIOR REPORTER

Jumbos freely roam the streets of Chinotimba, Chamabondo and the bushy areas of Mkhosana suburb every night making it dangerous for residents to move around. The residents said they were not happy with the Zimbabwe Parks and Wildlife Management Authority (Zimparks), which they accuse of failing to drive away the jumbos that have become a menace in their lives.

Zimparks public relations manager Caroline Washaya-Moyo could not be reached for comment as she was said to be out of office and her mobile phone barred incoming calls.

Victoria Falls Ward 11 councillor Edmore Zhou, whose ward encompasses Chamabondo and Mkhosana suburbs, said he had engaged Zimparks officials on Thursday about the matter and they indicated that they were on high alert.

“It’s true elephants are now invading residential areas. There’s a time when they go away, but this time it’s the period when we see them coming in large numbers,” Zhou said.

“I spoke to the Zimparks area manager and he gave me their numbers so that if we see the elephants we phone and alert them. Victoria Falls is sitting in a game park, so we expect the presence of these elephants. I urge our people to be on high alert to avert attacks.”

Victoria Falls Residents’ Association chairperson Morgan Gaza Dube yesterday said they would advise Zimparks officials about the presence of the animals in residential areas.

“We have an animal–human relationship policy where these animals are not killed, but just driven away from residential places,” Dube said.

“I urge our residents to contact authorities once they see animals in residential areas to avoid attacks.

“This is their season. We always encounter herds of elephants every year. However, when they come into residential areas it’s now different.”

Two years ago, a mother of three, Margret Mudenda from Mkhosana, was trampled to death by an elephant in a bushy area between Mkhosana and Chinotimba.

Residents said each time elephants roamed into residential areas in the past, they called parks rangers who would come and fire warning shots into the air to scare them away, but it looked like the jumbos were no longer intimidated.