BINGA: A joint investigating team comprising department of national parks rangers and the police has been dispatched to Mlibizi in Binga after 11 hippos were reported dead.
The cause of the death is yet to be established but 11 carcasses were recovered at different points in the Kavira forest and along Mlibizi River, near the mighty Zambezi River.
Villagers have been feasting on the carcasses oblivious of possible health hazards as the giant water animals are feared to have been poisoned.
The carcasses were found on Sunday and Monday.
A ranger who preferred to remain anonymous said investigations are still underway as they are still searching for possible more bodies.
“Six carcasses of hippos were found in the Mlibizi area of Binga on April 2.
“They were in separate areas while two more were found on the next day in the Kavira Forestry area,” said the ranger.
Hippos feed on river bank vegetation and also invade stream bank fields where they eat vegetables and crops.
There are fears they could have fed on a garden that had been sprayed with pesticides.
“Initial investigations by local officials couldn’t establish the cause of death and a team of rangers from Zimbabwe Parks and Wildlife Management Authority (Zimparks), CAMPFIRE, Veterinary Services Department and Environmental Management Agency was sent to the ground to investigate,” the ranger we spoke to added.
The incident comes barely a year after dozens of elephants were allegedly poisoned with cyanide by suspected poachers in Sinamatela Camp within the Hwange National Park.