By Vumani Mthiyane
Gwanda residents are now living in fear as baboons are terrorising residents, particularly women and children and are reportedly pilfering foodstuff in their houses.
The wild animals are no forced to scavenge for food in residential areas due to drought conditions currently affecting the country.
A number of residents who spoke to CITE confirmed that they have fallen victim to the marauding wild animals.
The worst affected areas are ward 2 in the avenues, St Christopher’s primary school, ZRP old camp and Gwanda provincial hospital where they have attacked and injured both children and adults
St Christopher primary school headmaster, Temuso Dube appealed to the Zimbabwe Parks and Wildlife Authority to remove the baboons from the school premises.
“We have experienced a very bad scenario here where the baboons attacked one of our staff workers who was doing her duties. As she was attacked, she tried to run away and, in the process, broke her leg and was admitted to United Bulawayo Hospitals for two months, ” said Dube.
Asked what efforts have they done to address this issue, Dube said he has visited all relevant authorities to no avail in solving the problem.
“In my capacity as the head I have tried my level best, I personally drove to National Parks and Wildlife offices at West Nicholson to collect the officers but unfortunately upon arrival there was no one there.
“Just last week, I approached the local municipality and they came to the school where they found more than 150 baboons roaming around the schoolyard. Unfortunately, they could not shoot even a single baboon because they had brought a faulty gun,” said Dube.
Some residents have called for the killing of the baboons saying they have become a menace in the mining town.
“Baboons come here every day around 7 am and 4 pm. I remember one day a big male baboon opened the door for six others to go inside the house and they ransacked the place.
“I could not chase them away because the big one stood guard at the door and was threatening to attack me as I tried to draw closer,” said a female worker at the Town Clerk’s residence.
Another resident identified as Mai Tanaka said her 3-year-old daughter was attacked by a baboon and left her with bruises all over her body.
Three months ago a male nurse was attacked and injured by a male baboon.
Contacted for a comment, Zimparks spokesperson Tinashe Farawo warned residents from throwing foodstuffs at the baboons.
“We have not received such a report from Gwanda but the baboon problem is not only affecting Gwanda alone.
People of Kariba, Chirundu, Vic Fall and all resort towns are having a similar problem. Once we get a report we will drive them away as we did in Kariba,” said Farawo.
“We don’t encourage people to give baboons any foodstuffs and local authorities must practice good waste management”.