Zimbabwe on alert after lions kill two people

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Wildlife rangers in Zimbabwe have put the northern resort town of Kariba on full alert after rogue lions mauled to death two people in the area.

The National Parks and Wildlife Authority yesterday said fliers were being handed out and volunteers were using a loudspeaker to caution townspeople on the dangers of lion attacks on the shores of Lake Kariba, a man-made hydroelectric dam popular for fishing and tourism.

One man escaped from a lion attack on Tuesday, but the woman with him was savaged to death. An arm and remnants of a second corpse were found by rangers hunting for the lions.

The predatory animals had eaten most of one corpse but did not devour the body of the dead woman, rangers said.

The wildlife authority warned people against walking at night and crossing through thickets of bush, where lions conceal themselves. It urged people in the area only to use wide and established roads.

Lion attacks are not common close to urban settlements. In the past, elephants have roamed into Kariba’s suburbs, causing several deaths in recent years. Victims were often heading home from late night bars.

Yesterday’s lion alert fliers also warned “beer drinkers to avoid moving at night on foot”. With the recent growth of outdoor Christian groups and religious and other tribal sects, the authority advised their followers to “stop going for secretive prayers in thick vegetation” in and around Kariba.

Rangers said the hunt for the rogue lions was continuing.

It is known in common conservation practice that lions that have eaten human prey will continue preying on people until they are hunted down and killed.