The Sunday News
Fairness Moyana in Hwange
A 30-year-old woman who was on guard duty succumbed to injuries sustained when she was attacked by an elephant while at work in Hwange on Friday.
The woman, Lydia Dube (30) was pronounced dead on arrival at Mpilo Central Hospital in Bulawayo yesterday after being transferred from Hwange Colliery Hospital with residents in the mining town’s concession areas calling on relevant authorities to speedily act on the escalating human-wildlife conflict cases.
The elephant has since been put down by Zimparks rangers. Sources who spoke to Sunday News in Hwange said Dube who was employed as a security guard was on duty where she was guarding a broken down crane at Chaba Mine.
“She saw an elephant a distance away and disembarked from the machine she was guarding to go to the guard room. Unbeknown to her, there was an elephant that was lurking behind her that attacked her before she got to the guard room leaving her for dead. She was discovered still alive but seriously injured,” said a workmate who requested anonymity.
She was rushed to Hwange Colliery Hospital where her condition deteriorated before being transferred to Mpilo where she succumbed to the injuries on arrival. Residents in the area who were distraught following the attack blamed mining companies for the increase in human-wildlife conflict cases.
Mr Micah Ndlovu from Lusumbami Village said: ““This is a great concern to us. We are now experiencing more visits by the wild animals than before and we no longer feel very safe.”
The elephants have been imposing curfews in Lusumbami, Makwika, Madumabisa and Lowe Colliery areas with human movements no longer possible after 6pm. Some blamed Zimparks for not putting an effort in controlling problematic animals.
Residents said authorities should act to prevent such incidents instead of wanting to be seen to be doing something when people have lost lives. Greater Whange Residents Trust said it had engaged Zimparks on several occasions.
“We have engaged Zimparks several times and there have been conflict on who should be controlling the animals. Zimparks says it’s a private area belonging to Colliery but now we don’t know if it has the capacity to handle the issue,” said GWRT programmes officer, Ms Sithembinkosi Ndhlovu.
Zimparks spokesperson Mr Tinashe Farawo confirmed the incident calling it unfortunate and sad.