Elephant Kills Vic Falls Mentally Ill Homeless Man

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By Matabeleland North Correspondent

VICTORIA FALLS residents have implored the Zimbabwe Parks and Wildlife Management Authority (Zimparks) to deal with problem elephants that are freely roaming the streets after a homeless and mentally ill man was Wednesday afternoon trampled to death.

The now-deceased, who used to walk the streets of the resort town scavenging for food, was attacked by an elephant in the late afternoon as he walked near the National Railways of Zimbabwe train station.

He died on the spot in full view of passing residents.

Efforts by residents of nearby NRZ houses to rescue him were fruitless as the elephants gored the man before trampling on him.

“It happened right in our full view. We wanted to rush and pull him away but the elephant acted like it was possessed,” said Charles Mathe who resides at the NRZ compound.

“It initially charged at him and he picked something and threw at it. Before we knew it, it was attacking him. He tried to flee through some thorns but that was too late. He fell down and suddenly the elephant was all over him trampling him and in the process using its horn to gore him,” he added.

When police and rangers arrived, the man was already dead with intestines protruding. His already tattered clothes had been torn into pieces as a result of the attack.

A parks ranger said they would track and kill the elephant as it was now a danger to the community.

However, residents said the presence of elephants in the resort town had increased.

“They are roaming the streets freely taking advantage of the fact that there are few people moving around as a result of the lockdown. For the past few days many people have reported that elephants had chased after them behind Emaplankeni market. Zimparks should do something before we lose more lives,” said one resident.

Mayor Somvelo Dlamini said there was need by Zimparks to resolve the increasing human-wildlife conflict.

“Zimparks should do something about these animals. People are already hungry because of the lockdown and they should at least shoot some of these and feed people so as to end conflict,” he said.