By Judith Sibanda
Victoria Fall residents scrambled for elephant meat, Tuesday, after Zimbabwe Parks and Wildlife Management Authority (Zimparks) rangers gunned down an elephant which had been terrorising residents in the resort town for sometime.
The rangers cornered the male elephant yesterday evening in Mkhosana suburb and finally put it down.
After skinning and removing the tusks, the park officials allowed the residents to share the meat among themselves.
The meat attracted hundreds of residents as far as Chinotimba and Monde and Lupinyu Villages who travelled more than 20 kilometres to get a share.
The mob said the economic situation forced them to feast on the meat.
“We slept here safe guarding the meat because people wanted to share it amongst themselves at night,” a Mkhosana resident Olimphas Ncube said.
“We were with the Zimparks rangers who started distributing the meat in the morning. Some couldn’t get because the queues were too long and some people were refusing to join the long winding queues.
“ l managed to walk away with intestines. People here are driven by the social and economic hardships such that they have to settle for anything.”
Kezia Mpofu said she managed to get some meat to feed her children for two days.
“I was given a small portion and that will take me for two days with my children. We have nothing to eat at home and when we heard that there was meat for free, l walked from Monde Village (Chief Mvuthu) to get a share.
“We didn’t manage to get much as we anticipated because rural and urban people had come and we were all supposed to get a fair share.”
One woman got the got a part of leg and she had a tough time carrying it home.
“ She pleaded for the leg and she said she was going to skin it at home and dry part of the meat. We were at the venue as early as 3.30AM but the meat was distributed later. We are happy that rangers kill these animals because that is the only chance we get to eat meat,”said one resident.
Zimparks official, Matthew Muleya said they had to put down the elephant as it was becoming a problem to residents.
Rangers have over the years gunned down elephants that stray to residential properties in the resort town, especially when they become a threat to people and infrastructure.