Uproar over rogue elephant in Zimbabwe’s Victoria Falls


By Calvin Manika for Community Podium News

Victoria Falls residents are up in arms after two people were killed by a rogue elephant, demanding Zimbabwe National Parks to do more to save lives in cases of human wildlife conflict.

The residents gathered at the latest victim’s house in the high density suburb of Mkhosana in Victoria Falls as they protested against the authority. In response to the resident’s outcry,

Zimparks tracked down the elephant and killed it as residents refused to disperse until the death of the notorious elephant.

On 7 May this year, Obert Sigola was trampled to death by the lone elephant on the Zionist Church of Christ premises. Witnesses say the elephant chased Sigola who took refuge in his incomplete house for almost two hours. He then assumed that the elephant had left and came out. Unfortunately the jumbo was still lurking and it pounced on him leading to his death.

Six days later, Israel Ndaba, 3,6, of Mkhosana, was allegedly killed by the same elephant near Shalom School.

“It is unheard of for an elephant to chase a person and enter his homestead to just kill him. It is so painful and difficult to accept,” said an angry resident.

“We refused to go anywhere until Zimparks shot down that elephant. It had caused great harm in our community and we were living in perpetual fear…so afraid to walk around in our own township,” said Kudakwashe Chiromo, another resident.

A resident who preferred anonymity for security reasons said Zimparks had initially promised to kill the elephant but deliberately spared it, only for them to act after the second tragedy.

“It’s a matter of regret that when it killed the first person, we alerted the Zimparks team and they promised to kill it. We later heard from insiders that they had chosen not to kill it because it turned out to be a preferred breed,” said a resident who preferred anonymity.

Despite the demise of the elephant, residents say Zimparks must do more to separate animals from human beings.

“Zimparks must come up with ways to protect human beings and minimise human-wildlife conflict. To lose two human lives from elephant attacks within a week is sad.

We urge Zimparks to work together with the Victoria Falls City Council and other stakeholders to erect a perimeter fence to prevent such jumbo forays into residential areas,” said Member of Parliament for Hwange West, Godfrey Dube.

“People may end up taking matters into their own hands leading to killing of the elephants if Zimparks does not treat this matter with urgency,” said Prince Sibanda, a resident.

Zimpark’s Spokesperson, Tinashe Farawo, encouraged members of the public to minimise movements especially during the night.

“So far, 35 people have been killed in human-wildlife conflict across the country this year. Zimparks encourages communities to minimise movements at night and not to provoke wildlife…,” Farawo said.

Victoria Falls, a tourist destination, is one of the seven natural wonders of the world. It is home to the Victoria Falls National Park and Zambezi National Park. As previously reported by Community Podium, the expansion of residential areas and lack of water in the parks has resulted in wild animals encroaching into human spaces.

This article is reproduced here as part of the African Conservation Journalism Programme, funded in Angola, Botswana, Mozambique, and Zimbabwe by USAID’s VukaNow: Activity. Implemented by the international conservation organisation Space for Giants, it aims to expand the reach of conservation and environmental journalism in Africa, and bring more African voices into the international conservation debate. Read the original story here.