Crocodiles kill eight in Zimbabwe dam

Harare, Jan 18 – Eight fish poachers have been killed by crocodiles in a major dam in Zimbabwe in the last two weeks, media reports said Sunday.

A ninth victim was severely injured when he was attacked by a crocodile on Lake Chivero outside the capital Harare Saturday, the state-controlled Sunday Mail reported, quoting national park authority spokeswoman Caroline Washaya-Moyo.

The bodies of only two of the eight victims have been found, she said. Wildlife experts say crocodiles seize their prey and store them in underwater hollows, returning to consume them after several days.

Lake Chivero is Harare’s largest water reservoir.

‘These people included men and women and all of them were poachers,’ Washaya-Moyo said. Fellow poachers have not been deterred as they keep returning to the same site.

The poachers wade waist-deep into the water and angle for fish with bamboo rods. A section of the lake controlled by the national park authorities is a favourite spot for poachers from a nearby squatter camp who hawk fish to passing motorists on a nearby main road.

Washaya-Moyo said wildlife authorities were trying to minimise crocodile attacks, but did not give details.

Of all Africa’s species of large mammals and reptiles, hippopotami are regarded as being responsible for the most human deaths, followed by crocodiles.