By Mollet Ndebele
A troop of hungry baboons has invaded Pumula South suburb in Bulawayo where they are reportedly ransacking pots and climbing on rooftops to tamper with satellite dishes.
The baboons, suspected to be coming from a forest near Khami Dam, even reportedly snatch foodstuffs from children in a development that is worrying residents.
Last week residents told Sunday News that they suspected that the baboons were being forced to invade houses because they were looking for food.
“Initially they were targeting mangoes but most of the trees no longer have the fruits, now they even target pots. Remember because of load shedding most people are using firewood, and if you leave the pots unattended, the baboons will snatch them,” said Ms Hilda Ncube from the suburb.
“In some cases, the baboons play with satellite dishes and slide to the ground using cables. They are now so daring that we fear that one day they might even enter the houses if doors are left open.”
Another resident who identified himself as Mr Ndlovu said last week, a baboon snatched a loaf of bread from a child who was coming from the shops.
“I think they are also hungry but authorities must ensure that animals are living away from people,” he said.
In an interview, the councillor for the area, Clr Siboniso Khumalo said his office has engaged the Zimbabwe Parks and Wildlife Management Authority although no help has been offered.
“When we approached them, they said the people must not randomly throw away leftovers, instead they should bury them because they also attract these hungry baboons,” said Clr Khumalo.
ZimParks spokesperson Mr Tinashe Farawo said the major problem was the ballooning population of wild animals in the country.
“The problem of baboons is not unique to Pumula. In Kariba, Hwange and Victoria Falls people face the same problem. We have noticed that local authorities have poor waste management systems which attract these primates.
“We are saying our animals are overpopulated and they end up straying from protected areas into communities causing damage and loss to livelihoods,” said Mr Farawo. Sunday News