Crocodiles kill eight poachers and injure another in Zimbabwe

Posted Jan 18, 2010 by Chris Dade
Authorities in Zimbabwe say that poachers have not been discouraged from fishing in a lake near the country's capital Harare, despite the deaths of eight men and women who fell victims to crocodiles.
Liz Roy
In the past two weeks eight men and women engaged in illegal fishing in Lake Chivero, said by the Earth Times to be the largest reservoir serving Harare, have been attacked and killed by crocodiles. A ninth person was badly injured on Saturday.
But the deaths have not stopped poachers, many of them from a local squatter camp, entering the lake until the water is up to their waists and attempting to catch fish with bamboo rods.
Caroline Washaya-Moyo, Public Relations Manager with the Zimbabwe Parks and Wildlife Management Authority, explained the situation to The Sunday Mail. She said:These people did not have licences that gave them the permission to fish in the lake. In the past two weeks alone, we have had eight people attacked and killed by crocodiles and all but two bodies were recovered. These people included both men and women and all of them were poachers. Their colleague have not been deterred as they keep returning to the same site
The poachers reportedly sell any fish that they catch to motorists traveling in the area, on occasions moving door-to-door as they attempt to make a sale.
Ms Washaya-Moyo has indicated that efforts are being made to "minimize" the attacks, allegedly mainly down to just one of the many crocodiles in the lake, with patrols designed to arrest those fishing illegally being increased.
According to the Earth Times crocodiles do not immediately consume their victims but first store them underwater for a number of days before returning to eat them.
However, of all the mammals and reptiles in Africa capable of killing humans, it is the hippopotamus (river horse) that is most likely to actually kill a person. Weighing 4,000 pounds or more hippopotamuses are known to attack boats, often as they seek to protect their young.
As for Zimbabwe, it is a country with enormous economic problems, The World Factbook compiled by the CIA putting the country's inflation rate at 14.93 billion percent in 2008, its unemployment rate at 80 percent in 2005, and the percentage of the population below the poverty line in 2004 at 68 percent.
Human rights have also been an issue in Zimbabwe for many years, with the regime of President Robert Mugabe criticized throughout the world for its record in that respect.