IT IS by the grace of the Lord that not a single human being in the areas of Waterford, Worringham, Manningdale and Hope Fountain in Bulawayo had by late yesterday not been devoured by the King of the Jungle which has reportedly been roaming freely in these surroundings for nearly two weeks now.
This newspaper has been inundated with calls from frightened residents domiciled within the vicinity of where the predator has
reportedly been spotted, expressing fear for their safety and that of their livestock.
The Zimbabwe National Parks and Wildlife Management Authority (ZNPWMA) has not been helpful in providing useful information on the lion’s presence.
The only information that has been received so far is that the authority has increased manpower to hunt the stray lion, but it appears the efforts have been in vain as they are still to account for the dangerous big cat.
Parks spokesperson Caroline Washaya Moyo on Monday told Southern Eye that nine officials, including a professional hunter, were now on the ground.
“What we have now is that a spoor was spotted at Criterion Farm. From the spoor, it was determined that the lion is an adult,” Washaya Moyo said.
“We have called for extra manpower from the Hwange National Park. As it is, we have a team of nine on the ground that includes a professional hunter.”
But the residents doubt the seriousness of parks officials who of late have adopted an arrogant attitude towards journalists seeking to aid them in searching for the beast. They say the lion was never at the said farm, casting aspersions on ZNPWMA’s competencies.
When asked on Tuesday on the latest regarding the lion, Mashaya Moyo arrogantly responded: “Get in touch with our regional manager as we have asked you journalists to be part of that hunting team.”
Such behaviour is not expected from public officials charged with the responsibility of ensuring the safety of citizens against wild animals.
The response gives credence to claims by some residents that search officials have been spotted patrolling along the safety of highways, afraid of venturing into the surrounding hills and bushes where citizens are adamant the lion is lying in wait before it pounces on humans.
Everyone is asking: Where is the lion? But in the unfortunate event citizens and their livestock get devoured, Parks officials will be solely held responsible for the tragedy.