Friday 20 April 2018

Zimbabwe rangers trap killer lions

Wildlife rangers on patrol near Kariba, Zimbabwe, where three killer lions have been trapped (AP)
Wildlife rangers on patrol near Kariba, Zimbabwe, where three killer lions have been trapped (AP)

Three lions that killed two people near a suburb of the Zimbabwe lakeside resort of Kariba have been caught and put down, wildlife rangers have said.

A lioness and two "sub adult" cubs between two and three years old were baited into traps and given lethal injections with darts, the state wildlife department said. Sub adults are about three-quarters of the size of a fully grown lioness.

Rangers said the mother was lame from a badly swollen injured leg and scarred from wresting itself from an illegal wire trap set by poachers. They said the wounds accounted for the pride preying so close to Kariba's Mahombekombe township.

Police in Kariba said a ranger laying a dead zebra as bait for the lions was accidentally shot in the leg when colleagues opened fire on lions seen stalking toward him.

The three lions devoured the body of one man on Tuesday and killed a woman nearby whose male companion escaped unhurt.

The northern resort of Kariba had been put on full alert after the rogue lions struck.

Fliers were handed out in the town and a loudspeaker was used to caution people on the dangers of lion attacks on the shores of Lake Kariba, a man-made hydroelectric dam popular for fishing and tourism. The warning fliers warned "beer drinkers to avoid moving at night on foot".

With the recent growth of outdoor Christian groups and religious and other tribal sects, the fliers advised their followers to "stop going for secretive prayers in thick vegetation" in and around the town.

One of the lions' victims was a 70-year-old man headed for a bar on the outskirts of the township, and the dead woman had surreptitiously gone into the bush with a lover, neighbours said.

Lion attacks are not common close to urban settlements. In the past, elephants have roamed into Kariba's suburbs, causing several deaths in recent years. Victims were often heading home from late night taverns and bars.

Press Association

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