A PRIDE of lions is wreaking havoc in Victoria Falls with one of the wild cats yesterday mauling to death a 52- year-old woman before feeding on her corpse, The Standard has established.
By Nokuthaba Dlamini
Officer commanding police in Victoria Falls Chief Superintendent Jairos Chiwona confirmed the killing of Sarah Tshuma by one of the lions which has since been shot dead.
“We confirm having received such a report of a woman who was killed by a lion early today (yesterday) and our most sincere condolences go to the family and friends,” Chiwona said
The attack took place at Sisonke Village in Woodlands area under Chief Mvuthu.
Violet Ngwenya, a neighbour and relative of the deceased said the lions had been causing sleepless nights to villagers for the past few days.
She said villagers were now sleeping outside their cattle kraals to safeguard livestock.
Ngwenya said the lions initially attacked a cattle kraal around 7pm on Friday at the same homestead killing one ox.
“Villagers scared away the pride after the incident by banging empty containers and making fire in an effort to safeguard cattle and goats but the lions kept coming,” she said.
“Eventually we all agreed to go and sleep because it was already midnight but Tshuma refused indicating that she wanted to watch over her beasts and we left her.
“Around morning, one of the lionesses came back again and we suspect it charged on her as she was patrolling outside the kraal because we were awakened by her screams pleading for help.”
Ngwenya added: “We helplessly saw her being attacked but we couldn’t do anything.
“We contacted police and Parks (Zimbabwe National Parks and Wildlife Management Authority), but it was too late because immediately the lioness started feeding on her.
“It ripped open her stomach and other body parts until it was shot by Parks rangers.”
Tendai Musasa, chairman of Woodlands Wildlife Conservancy said Woodlands Farm had a long history of human-animal conflict.
He said a number of people had been attacked and injured by wild animals while others had been killed.
“Last year in February during President Robert Mugabe’s 91st birthday party, we shot and killed one elephant which was a threat to the villagers as it would destroy crops in the fields,” Musasa said.
“They tried to chase it away, but it would charge at them.
“People never reaped anything in their fields because of the elephant and I saw it fit for rangers to gun it down even though it steered anger from conservationists, branding the pledge of the meat to the president as unethical.”
In the same area, another villager, Given Ndlovu last year survived death by a whisker when he was attacked by a buffalo that left his intestines protruding.