Crocodile attacks on the rise in Zimbabwe, big one blocks off hospital entrance

Crocodile attacks in Zimbabwe's urban areas are rare but after recent heavy rains have allowed crocodiles to move into areas where they are not usually seen.

 

By AFP and News24

 

Wildlife authorities in Zimbabwe shot dead a large crocodile that strayed into the northern town of Hwange and blocked entry to a hospital, an official. The crocodile took up a position outside the main gate to St Patrick’s hospital and charged at anyone trying to enter or leave, creating panic among residents, local media reported.

Parks and wildlife authority spokesman Tinashe Farawo confirmed the incident, adding that crocodile attacks were on the rise in recent weeks due to heavy rain.

“We received a report on Tuesday from Hwange where a crocodile was seen in the residential area and we had to put it down because it had become a threat to human life,” Farawo told AFP.

The crocodile was outside the hospital in Hwange for about two hours, attracting a large crowd of onlookers, before it was shot.

The Bulawayo Chronicle reported that it was unclear how the animal came to be outside the hospital as the nearest water was about 10 kilometres (6 miles) away.

“In less than five minutes, I had received more than 10 phone calls from residents who were in serious panic mode,” local official Themba Tshuma told the paper.

“At first I thought it was a prank because crocodiles are found around water bodies and not in the middle of a suburb.”

Meanwhile in the capital Harare, a woman was fatally attacked by a crocodile as she crossed a stream, while a boy escaped with injuries in another attack in the south-eastern district of Chiredzi.

A woman has been attacked and killed by a crocodile in Harare’s Budiriro suburb, and national parks officials are warning people not to cross rivers as the reptiles have become more active and are showing up in unexpected places, the state-owned media has said.

Tsitsi Jambaya was killed by the crocodile on Wednesday morning as she tried to cross a river in Budiriro, south-western Harare, to fetch firewood, a Zimbabwe state parks authority spokesperson Tinashe Farawo was quoted as saying.

“She was accompanied by her neighbour, who later notified residents and the next of kin about the incident,” Farawo said.

Crocodile attacks in Harare are rare but after recent heavy rains tributaries to the nearby Lake Chivero are reported to be in full flow, allowing crocodiles to move into areas where they are not usually seen.

 Farawo said parks rangers had been deployed to hunt down the crocodile that killed Jambaya.

“We have been receiving several reports on crocodile attacks therefore we urge all the people in communities, especially where there are water bodies, to desist from crossing rivers,” he added.

 

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