Michael Magoronga, Midlands Correspondent
ZIMBABWE Parks and Wildlife Authority (Zimparks) rangers shot down an elephant after it fatally trampled a man who was taking selfies with the jumbo just outside Kwekwe, triggering a stampede by villagers for elephant meat.
The man, whose name could not be ascertained, is said to have been gored and dragged for some metres before being trampled by the provoked jumbo in Ward 30 resettlement areas just outside kwekwe.
His colleague is said to be battling for life at Kwekwe General Hospital.
Another elephant was shot down when it was spotted heading towards residential areas in Kwekwe.
Villagers in Mbizo 22, Chicago, Umlala Park and the surrounding areas have been living in fear after the jumbos, numbering about seven, were spotted in the area last week.
Zimparks yesterday said it had put down two of the jumbos and driven the rest back to the Black Rhino Conservancy where they are said to have escaped from.
It was free for all for villagers in Ward 30 and ward 2 when the elephants were put down as they were seen pushing and shoving to get a share of the meat. Zimparks spokesperson, Mr Tinashe Farawo said the two jumbos were taken down as they were now posing danger to human life.
“There were two incidents, one was when our rangers had to take down an elephant after it trampled upon a man and injured another. The man is said to have been taking selfies with the jumbo when he was attacked by the animal,” said Mr Farawo.
On the second incident, the jumbo was gunned down in Chicago area as it was wandering towards residential areas.
Mr Farawo said under such circumstances, Zimparks take custody of the tusks.
“We had no option but to take it down as it was now heading towards residential areas,” he said.
He said the situation was now under control.
“We have managed to drive them back to the Black Rhino Conservancy where they were said to have escaped. The situation is now under control and our rangers are still on the ground working and assisting the community,” said Mr Farawo.
He however, urged members of the public to avoid provoking the animals.
“Communities are urged to stay away from the animals and minimise close contact with the animals. It is very unfortunate that we have lost life unnecessarily as it could have been avoided. So, people should by all means avoid provoking the animals,” he said.
He said communities should also report such incidents as soon as they spot the animals.
“People should give us such incidents as soon as they see the animals so that we react as fast as possible. We are still on the ground trying to raise awareness to the community so that no one provokes the animals in case they see them,” he said.
Fears were that the jumbos would find their way into the residential areas where they would have caused more damage.