Wild animal injures three people in Dowa

Lilongwe: Barely two days after Ntcheu police reported that three people were battling for their lives in Ntcheu District after being attacked by a hyena, three people in Dowa have also been seriously injured when a wild animal believed to be a fox attacked them.

Dowa Police Station’s Public Relations Officer, Sergeant Richard Mwakayoka Kaponda, said Cosmos Smith, 40, of Jeputala Village in Senior Chief Msakambewa in the district reported to police that he and his step daughters, Violet Chikakuvaza, 4 and Elifa Henry, 16, of the same village were suddenly attacked and bitten by a wild animal believed to be a fox on November 27, 2018.

Kaponda said the farther of the girls was injured in the process of rescuing the girls from the fox that had attacked the two children while playing on the veranda of their house.

Meanwhile, the Department of Parks and Wildlife has noted with great concern of the recent but similar incidents.

In a telephone interview with Malawi News Agency (Mana), Director for Parks and Wildlife, Brighton Kumchedwa who was reportedly outside the country said he was aware of the shocking news.

My department is aware of the shocking reports that while three people in Ntcheu are still battling for their lives after they were separately attacked and seriously wounded by a marauding hyena, a fox has also attacked two kids and a man in Dowa, he said.

He, however assured the public, mainly those that live close to wildlife reserves that his department is intensifying comprehensive safety methods to curb similar incidents.

Many of our parks have perimeter electric fences, but also we have wildlife hunters who chase these animals back to the reserves, therefore, people should always report to our offices or to the nearest police stations because our officers in partnership with police will always be there to deal with the problem, said Kumchedwa.

When asked why these cases are becoming common these days, Kumchedwa said human-wildlife conflicts are largely due to increasing human population where there is competition for land and food but also migration routes of these animals being settled by humans and the same encroaching in wildlife areas.

He said, When people settle or encroach in wildlife areas, it becomes a big challenge to deal with human wildlife conflicts, and it should therefore be noted that sometimes human manpower at our department is in short supply.

This includes equipment such as ammunition; therefore, it is imperative for community members to always stay alert.

According to media reports, the attacks in Dowa began in 2003 when the locals were viciously attacked by an unknown animal. The fatal attacks were against two elderly women and a three-year-old child.

The report further says the beast crushed their skulls and ate their intestines and genitals while the surviving victims sustained serious disfiguring injuries, with some of them losing both legs and hands while two people lost both ears and eyes.

In one of the media statements, Peter Fearnhead, CEO of African Parks, the group that runs 10 wildlife areas in Africa said the level of conflict between people and wildlife at national parks is almost unprecedented, saying this was one of the reasons that the government of Malawi invited the group to take over management of the Liwonde National Park to complement government efforts.

Four days ago in Ntcheu, a 33 year old Chisomo Themabakako of Kasisi 1 Village, Sub Traditional Autholity Tsikumowa, was the first to be attacked by a hyena before the animal descended on an eleven year old boy and a nine year old boy who was again severely wounded.

Source: Malawi News Agency MANA