Frequent raids by troops of baboons which are terrorising children and women have seen growing calls by the Chinotimba residents in Victoria Falls for responsible authorities to intervene and put to an end the destruction being caused by the animals.
“Enough is enough!” -that is the strong message by the angry Chinotimba residents who say they cannot endure the continued harassment and terror due to the regular raids by a troop of baboons.
The baboons, which often behaves like human beings and are very good tricksters, have kept the residents under lock fearing for their lives.
The animals are said to have become more violent, terrorising children, stealing foodstuffs and in some cases slapping as well as biting residents.
“We are living in fear; these baboons have become a big menace. For how long should we continue to be terrorised? Responsible authorities should surely act before lives are lost,” said one angry resident.
Broken windows, damaged cars and body scars will make one think Chinotimba is a war zone.
While there are no casualties so far, the residents feel behaviour by the animals is a clear declaration of war.
For now it seems the baboons are winning the war.
“We feel Zimparks and all the responsible authorities should come to our rescue and save us from these animals,” said another resident.
The community feels the responsible authorities should urgently intervene before lives are lost.
Some residents feel the Zimparks should relocate some of the animals to places where there are fewer baboons such as Harare and Bulawayo.
“If they could capture them and send them to other places where there are no baboons like Harare that would help us,” Another resident said.
The biggest question is whether the Harare mayor and the residents will accept the generous donation?
The answer is likely to be straight forward, “keep your baboons and we will keep our skyscrapers.”
While the residents pray for some intervention, they have devised ways of minimising the attack for instance men are now tasked to buy bread which is then stashed in a satchel while catapults have become a popular toy for the young ones.
“Varume ndiwo vakunotenga chingwa mazuva ano(Men are the ones who are now going to buy bread). We are afraid of being terrorised. If they buy the bread it will be stashed in a satchel to avoid being confronted,” said another resident.
Victoria Falls is surrounded by game parks and cases of human-wildlife conflict are a common issue in the area. As the resort town expands with more properties being constructed close to the animals territories, there are fears of increased cases of human-wildlife conflict.