On the 4th of September ALERT’s Principle Researcher for the Matusadona Lion Project was tracking lionesses from the Eastern Pride in the Mucheni area. A visual was obtained at 5pm and they were followed as they headed South West to the other side of the peninsula they were on. After losing visual the researcher anticipated their movements and waited at a look-out point some distance way. At this time a houseboat was arriving into the nearby bay. At 6:30pm shouting was heard from the houseboat and our researcher arrived at the scene within 10 mins to find an employee had been attacked by the lions.
Using the research vehicle the lions were driven off the victim but first aid unfortunately could not be given as the lions remained within too close proximity. The man sadly passed away at the scene. Zimbabwe Parks & Wildlife Management Authority scouts arrived shortly after, and with their help, as well as that of a paramedic on the houseboat, the victim’s body was safely retrieved. Two lionesses, known within the Matusadona Lion Project study as F106, “Gogo”, and F114, “Ngoda”, were destroyed by Park’s staff following this incident. There was no evidence to suggest either of these lions was injured or ill that would cause them to attack a person. It is believed because the victim was moving alone at night in the bushes he approached the lions unknowingly.
This has been a huge blow for the Park, the lion population and the study, however the real tragedy is in the loss of the victim. Our deepest sympathies and thoughts are with his family left behind.
A sincere thank you is to be made to National Parks staff and the Zimbabwean Police for their professionalism and assistance. A thank you also to Mike Blignaut and Pierre Hundermark from Bulembi Safaris for their assistance.
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