By Matabeleland North Correspondent
RANGERS in the resort Victoria Falls town Thursday gunned down an elephant that trampled to death a mentally ill homeless man Wednesday after it was considered a threat to the local community.
However, hungry residents got the shock of their lives when they turned up in numbers Thursday morning hoping to find some meat only to find a bony carcass as the meat had been shared, probably by rangers and colleagues.
Usually, when an elephant is shot, residents are allowed to share the meat, but on Thursday, they went back home empty-handed.
Private rangers from anti-poaching organisations operating in Victoria Falls joined Zimbabwe Parks and Wildlife Management Authority (Zimparks) to track the ‘young bull’ Wednesday evening and shot it near the Old TM Pick n Pay building.
The site where it was shot is a small bush about 500 metres from where it gored and trampled the unidentified vagrant near the National Railways of Zimbabwe train station.
Police retrieved the body whose intestines were protruding.
The rangers started tracking it around 5 pm and found it hiding in the bushes before it began charging at them.
“We were about five walking in a straight line when we suddenly spotted it in the thicket. It seemed it had seen us and it hid in the trees and initially we passed by and couldn’t see it,” said a ranger who asked for anonymity.
“It suddenly charged at us and that is when it was shot straight on the head. It fell with a second bullet.”
The other elephant herd is, however, still roaming the residential and city centre streets of Victoria Falls.
Zimparks has relied on rangers from private organisations to kill problem animals.
A fortnight ago, a professional hunter from Lodzi Hunters, Thys de Vries became a hero in Binga when he gunned down a male lion that had turned to be a menace to the community.
In the latest Victoria Falls incident, residents said they were shocked to find the meat finished.
“Residents gathered in the evening after it had been shot and had to be driven away by police using some dogs. They were told to come in the morning at 10 am and when we got there, only the head and bones were at the site. No one knows who took the meat,” a disappointed resident, Maxwell Mudimba said.
Victoria Falls mayor Somvelo Dlamini said: “They (rangers) were supposed to have allowed people to share the meat. This is the only way people can benefit from their resources.”