CHIRUNDU CROCODILE ATTACKS ALARMING

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CROCODILE attacks on humans like the ones occurring in Chirundu are common in many places where these reptiles are native and human beings live.

No doubt these not-too-friendly creatures have sent shivers in many people of Chirundu as they continue to represent a serious danger to humans.

Lately, a day hardly passes without hearing of a crocodile attack in Chirundu where the reptiles appear to be unleashing their many assaults on territorial or defensive or indeed purely on hunger reasons.

In the Chirundu attacks, two fishermen of Siavonga were attacked on Lake Kariba in which one was killed while the other swam to safety on the Zimbabwean side where security officers briefly held him.

Siavonga district commissioner Lovemore Kanyama who confirmed the attack said that two fishermen met their fate on February 28 while fishing on the lake.

Mr Kanyama says the canoe the two fishermen were using capsized and the crocodile helped itself to one of the men identified as Mr Danny Mukanaka 55 while the other Mr Alfred Hazaala 27 managed to swim to safety on Zimbabwean side of the lake.

In another attack a breast-feeding mother Gertrude Siachitema, 21, of Apollo compound in Chirundu district sadly passed on after she was attacked by a crocodile in the Zambezi River where she went to bath with her friends and her body is still missing.

Mr Kanyama has rightly pointed out that while fishing is the major source of income for the people in Siavonga, fishermen should be very mindful of crocodiles in the lake as they conducted fishing activities to help reducing such incidents which have continued to be witnessed and recorded in the district.

Crocodiles are mean creatures and a stare into their jaws might be the last thing you want to see. Their dreadful jaws can snap our bones like twigs.

It is therefore explicable that each time a crocodile attacks a person, the media paints a picture of formidable belligerent beasts that reign terror on unsuspecting victims.

And these stories like the ones coming from Chirundu are enough to put you off ever coming close to where they live.

But for many people like those in Chirundu other parts of Zambia, the risk of being attacked by a crocodile are part of everyday life.

However knowing more about the outlines involved in such attacks could save more people and them as well.

No doubt then that for now the buck stops at our Department of National Parks and Wildlife (DNPW) which should up its game in protecting human life like they did when they killed one of the man-eating crocodiles last week.

We can understand the cries of the people in the area to DNPW to come to their rescue.

This is also important because the department has been accused of reacting swiftly to reports of a dead wild animal or poachers in the area but when it is a wild animal terrorizing people and killing domestic animals, the story becomes totally altered.

There is also a story of stray lions in Chirundu which have already killed some livestock. These beasts too need to be checked as people depend on animals for their livelihood especially that there is now no hope in farming due to the drought which has not spared the district.

It is now all up to the department to reduce on these crocodile fatalities by ensuring that the contacts with these reptiles living in proximity to human populations are minimized.

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