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Seven elephants found dead outside Hwange National Park

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BY NOKUTHABA DLAMINI

Zimbabwe Parks and Wildlife Management Authority (Zimparks) rangers last week stumbled on remains of seven elephants that are believed to have died two months ago at the Ngamo Forest on the outskirts of the Hwange National Park.

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The cause of the death of the seven elephants, that included a bull and calves, is not yet known.

Tinashe Farawo, the Zimparks spokesperson, told VicFallsLive on Thursday that tests carried out so far showed that the elephants died about two months ago.

“Our investigations are still ongoing, but the laboratory results ruled out the suspicion of them dying from cyanide poisoning but we are still exploring the possible causes of their deaths,” Farawo said.

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“The seven deceased elephants were a family because there was a bull, substandard ones and calves.”

Farawo said the decision to rule out cyanide of poisoning was influenced by the fact that there were no other carnivores that died after consuming meat from the affected elephants.

“Hyenas and vultures could’ve also immediately died because they fed on the corpses but patrol officers did not come across any that had died, so we suspect that they might have died from an infection which is still under investigation,” he added.

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“Their ivory was also still intact, so the other theory could be that they succumbed to a natural cause because when elephants age, their teeth fall off and at times their trunks could be faulty which affects their breeding patterns causing some problems which eventually leads to death.”

Two months ago two lions were found dead at the Hwange game reserve and their deaths were attributed to Tuberculosis.

The lions were aged between 12 and 15.

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Thieves target solar panels for Victoria Falls’ rural community gardens

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BY BRENDA NCUBE 

Villagers living in the outskirts of Victoria Falls have been left counting losses after eight suspected thieves broke into  their community nutrition gardens and stole solar panels on Saturday last week. 

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According to the area councillors, the thieves separately stole at least nine solar panels  in  Mashala, Change and Mpongola wards and vandalised some. 

According to Marvelous Mhlanga, one of the farmers from Mashala, the suspects firstly attempted to steal a pump and an inverter but failed, before opting to vandalise the solar panels. 

Pascar Mpofu, a  councillor for Mashala ward said because of the disruptions, villagers are no longer able to water their gardens, posing a risk to many whose source of livelihoods is in farming.

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“All gardening activities have stopped as the only source of water for domestic use and gardening has been cut,” he said. 

The solar pumps were installed several years ago by World Vision in a bid to make Hwange villages self-sufficient and have since become the source of livelihood for the community.

For villagers such as Mhlanga, the garden produce could suffice their families and could manage to send their children to school through wholesaling green paper, green beans, carrots and sugar beans as far as Hwange urban. 

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“Now we are at a loss and not sure how to survive as we are already fetching water for domestic use from the streams,”Mhlanga said. 

” We are hoping that the rains will be enough for our crops to ripen, but we don’t know what the future holds. ” she added.

Mpofu said that the solar panels will need to be replaced in time to resume gardening activities and the community is in the process of mobilising a neighborhood watch to safeguard the premises.

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“We believe that the thieves are locals working with outsiders,” said Mpofu 

He further revealed that the suspects have been caught and are in police custody for questioning.

Meanwhile, several solar panels have also been  stolen from boreholes dotted around Hwange National Park, Kazuma Pan National Park and the Zambezi National Park by suspected thieves from neighbouring Zambia.

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Trevor Lane, whose Bhejane Trust has been leading in the mobilisation of funds to drill boreholes and install solar panels to power the pumps at the three game parks, said the theft of solar panels intensified during Covid-19 lockdowns.

 

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Bloody festive as 148 perish in road traffic accidents

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BY BRENDA NCUBE 

The Zimbabwe Republic Police (ZRP) has revealed that a total of 148 people perished in road traffic accidents during the festive season, with 669 sustaining serious injuries. 

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ZRP revealed this on Monday in a statement, adding that the road traffic accidents totalled 2723, with 108 fatal accidents recorded and 669 injuries. 

The review was from December 15 2022 up to January 15. 

According to ZRP, the number of accidents for the same period was however a bit higher, between December 15 2021 and January 15 2022 at 2 741 previously compared to 2 723 reported this time. 

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The number of deaths rose from 138 to 148. 

For the safety of all road users, the ZRP implored drivers to safeguard lives by exercising caution and safety standards, especially during this rainy season as some roads are slippery and in a bad state.

Public service vehicle operators were also urged to “adhere to speed limits on the country’s roads and stop engaging in highway races while competing for passengers.

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The public was also encouraged to report errant drivers on the roads to any nearest police station or call the National Complaints Desk number 0242 703631 or WhatsApp on 0712 800 197.

Police said they will continue to road rules and regulations without fear or favour. 

 

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Shock as 18-months-old baby drowns in a pool in Binga

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BY LWANDLE MTHUNZI

A family from Bulawayo’s Warringham plots has been thrown into mourning after its 18-months old child drowned in a pool in Binga.

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The boy, Adrin Phiri had visited his grandmother Abigail Mguni in Tinde area under Chief Pashu when he disappeared from home around midday only for his lifeless body to be found in a 1.5 metre deep pool three hours later.

Police said the incident happened on Friday last week.

The matter was treated as sudden death by drowning.

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“On the 18th day of January 2023 Adrin Phiri aged 18 months of Plot 70 Warringham in Bulawayo and his grandmother Abigirl Mguni visited their relatives in Tinde under Chief Pashu. On 20 January at around 12 noon

Adrin was playing outside with his two cousins aged three years and five years,” said the police.

It is alleged that Adrin left the homestead and exited through the gate with no one noticing.

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He proceeded to the main road which is a few metres from the homestead.

Moments later, his grandmother discovered that he was no longer with his cousins and looked for him.

After failing to locate him, the grandmother and some relatives and neighbours launched a search but to no avail.

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At about 3pm, two juveniles saw the body stuck in mud in a pool about 20 metres away from the homestead.

A report was made to the police who attended the scene and have urged members of the public to monitor children and also to be wary of water bodies especially during the rainy season.

 

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