Villagers in Chikombezi in Masvingo and in Mhangura in Mashonaland West have lost several of their livestock in recent weeks to marauding lions which are roaming out of wildlife parks. In Chikombedzi, the lions are terrorising villagers around the Great Limpopo Transfrontier Park in the Limpopo Valley in areas such as Sengwe, Gezani, Dhavata and Sami communal lands.
Villagers from Sengwe who spoke to The Herald last week said they were concerned by the continued loss of their livestock which is their major symbol of wealth.
They said the lions were coming from the mega wildlife park made up of Kruger National Park in South Africa, Limpopo National Park in Mozambique and Gonarezhou National Park in Zimbabwe.
Chief Sengwe (Mr Willie Makoti), whose home is about five kilometres away from Kruger National Park in South Africa, said he lost nine cattle to marauding lions over the last four months.
"The problem of lions is a very serious one and has severely affected the cattle population in the communities that stay very close to the South African border," he said.
Chief Tshovani said the wild cats had not yet claimed human life though their increasing presence was worrying. Communities in the Limpopo Valley rely on cattle for survival as the area is not suitable for crop farming because of poor rains.
In Mhangura, the lions, whose number has not yet been established, are suspected to have escaped from the nearby Chinanga Game Lodge.
Mashonaland West police spokesperson Inspector Clemence Mabgweazara confirmed the development, adding that efforts to track them were still in progress.
"We have reports of lions that have caused panic in the Mhangura area," he said.