Crocodiles kill 13 in Zimbabwe
Hunger and repression make life tough enough for most Zimbabweans, but in the rural areas the wildlife is making life tricky too.
This year crocodiles took a narrow lead over elephants as the most dangerous animal to humans, according to new statistics released this weekend by a Zimbabwean conservation group.
Crocodiles dragged away and ate 13 people in the first 10 months of 2005, according to the annual report of the Campfire group. Elephants charged and trampled to death 12 people. One person was killed by a buffalo and one by a hippopotamus making a total of 27 Zimbabweans killed by wildlife.
Many of those killed by elephants were subsistence farmers trying to protect crops from the voracious appetites of the animals who eat about 300kg of vegetation a day.
Some farmers use chilli pepper spray to ward off the elephants, which usually amble off but occasionally become enraged, especially if they have young.
Crocodiles prey on villagers fishing or washing in rivers and lakes.
Despite the fearsome reputations of lions, they rarely kill humans. No fatal lion attacks on humans have been recorded in the last year.
The Campfire group aims to promote the management of wildlife and use of wildlife products in rural areas.
“Most of the time there is no recognition of that fact, that communities are always on the front line of the battle between man and beast,” said its director, Charles Jonga. - Guardian Unlimited Â