The Garanyemba community in Gwanda is living in fear after a giant hippopotamus found a new home at a local dam.
While members of the community converged at the same dam for a cleansing ceremony two years ago amid claims that a mysterious serpent was behind the village’s misfortunes, this time around they have come face to face with real danger.
“In 1963 we once had the same scenario, and the hippo almost killed a lady who was cycling to the clinic, so we are really scared,” said a villager.
Some said since the hippo’s arrival in the area they no longer go to their gardens, while others have stopped visiting their parents across the river because that is where it grazes.
Community leaders took the opportunity to urge villagers to desist from provoking the animal and appealed to the Zimbabwe Parks and Management Authority (ZIMPARKS) to come to their rescue.
Meanwhile, cases of stray wild animals, encouraging in villages and other human living quarters have been a cause for concern in the country.
A few weeks ago, Chiredzi District Hospital received an unexpected visitor, after a crocodile was spotted crawling through a corridor before resting in a storm drain.
It did not attack anyone from the time it was seen around 4am, to the time it was captured and translocated by the ZimParks officials.
Meanwhile, ZIMPARKS spokesperson Tinashe Farawo is on record urging members of the community to stay away from water bodies and report such cases as that one to the nearest ZIMPARKS offices, and not to provoke wild animals.
Apparently cases of human wildlife conflict are a common problem in the country, in some instances bush animals like lions, elephants, and the likes have wrecked havoc in some communities endangering lives and destroying property.