Mashudu Netsianda, Senior Reporter
A SUSPECTED border jumper was fatally attacked by two hippopotamuses while trying to illegally cross into South Africa through an undesignated entry point along the Limpopo River.
The incident, which occurred last week came barely four months after a member of the Zimbabwe National Army (ZNA) was killed by the semi-aquatic mammals while on border patrol on the banks of the Limpopo River.
The latest incident brings to four the number of people killed by hippopotamuses in Beitbridge since the beginning of the year.
The victim who was not identified died upon admission to Beitbridge District Hospital.
In a statement, the Municipality of Beitbridge confirmed the attack which occurred last Friday, saying the killer animals have since been gunned down.
“Two hippos were gunned down in Limpopo River (after) having injured an individual suspected to be a border jumper in the early hours of Friday. The injured individual is said to have passed on later at the Beitbridge District Hospital. This is the fourth such incident in the border town this year alone,” said the council.
The council warned people against using undesignated entry points as they risked being attacked by hippos.
“As the Municipality of Beitbridge, we are really concerned about the loss of life as we continue to face this human-wildlife conflict,” the council added.
In July, the soldier, identified as Pelious Moyo from Tongwe in Beitbridge district, was attacked by hippos while on patrol and he was pronounced dead on arrival at Beitbridge District Hospital.
Moyo was part of soldiers deployed at a checkpoint between Zimbabwe and South Africa. He was attacked at dawn as the hippo was headed to the river from grazing.
In the last four years, officials said at least seven people, including a 12-year-old, have been killed by hippos in the area.
Zimbabwe Parks and Wildlife Management Authority (Zimparks) rangers also shot and killed the hippos which had unleashed a reign of terror on residents and security personnel on patrol along the Limpopo River.
Zimparks spokesperson Mr Tinashe Farawo confirmed yesterday the latest incident and urged people to stay away from water bodies.
“It is common cause that when wildlife animals are overpopulated it results in a conflict between humans and wildlife.
“Usually when such occurrences happen, we put down these animals and that is what happened to these two hippos which have been terrorising people along the Limpopo River. We also urge people to stay away from water bodies to avoid unnecessary deaths,” he said.
Mr Farawo said since January, they recorded 32 deaths related to human-wildlife conflicts countrywide.
He encouraged members of the community to urgently report to Zimparks any problem animals.
Wild animals, especially elephants and hyenas, have become a menace in Beitbridge district, especially during the cropping season. Elephants destroy crops and trample on humans while hyenas target livestock.—@mashnets