ZIMBABWE Parks and Wildlife Management Authority (Zimparks) rangers and a rural district councillor escaped being trampled by elephants in the Monde area in Hwange district yesterday morning as they attempted to drive a herd of jumbos out of the area.
A Monde villager said four Zimparks rangers had tried to scare the jumbos by firing an AK47 into the air, but their efforts seemed to backfire as the animals charged at them.
“Four parks rangers came in the morning and we heard several shots in the direction of elephants and immediately we heard huge sounds as a whole herd of elephants started trumpeting and charging towards the rangers. We saw the rangers running past our homesteads and calling for help and luckily the elephants stopped chasing them when they drew closer to our homesteads,” the villager said.
Hwange Rural District Council (RDC) vice-chairperson Mathew Muleya was one of the agitated jumbos’ targets, but refused to comment about his ordeal although he confirmed the invasion of Monde and Jambezi area. He said the elephants had destroyed a variety of planted crops worth thousands of dollars.
“Monde and Jambezi area have lost tonnes of crops due to elephants. The value of the destruction is still being assessed, but runs into thousands of dollars,” Muleya said.
He said the Hwange RDC and affected communities had joined hands to drive out the elephants through an exercise called Programme Animal Control.
He said they had gunned down one jumbo on Monday in an effort to scare off the others.
“We have teamed up with the community to try to stop the elephants. So far we have managed to gun down one elephant in an effort to scare off several herds that are roaming in the area, but our efforts have had minimum effect so far,” Muleya said.