Africa-Press – Mozambique. A herd of elephants, which has been circulating between villages in Sofala province, in central Mozambique, for six months, has killed one person and devastated quantities of crops, an official source told Lusa on Tuesday.
“These elephants have been in this area for approximately six months. In the last two weeks, elephants killed a person who was trying to scare the animals away from an agricultural plot in the village of Candeia,” said village head Miguel Chatala.
According to authorities, who do not yet know the number of elephants involved, the animals left Gorongosa National Park (PNG) and migrated almost 200 kilometres to Chemba district, attracted by sugar cane plantations in the region.
At least 15,000 families have already been affected in the districts of Chemba and Caia, in addition to multiple agricultural plots and precarious houses destroyed, Chatala said, adding that the animals left the PNG in January and were living in forest near the communities.
“A lot of crops have been destroyed so far, I can’t count it here in terms of numbers,” he said, adding that the animals had also caused several injuries.
The administrator of the Gorongosa National Park, Pedro Muagura, said that a team of park rangers and technicians has already been deployed to monitor the herd of elephants, while admitting that they could not immediately be returned to the conservation area because of the great distance involved.
“I am personally worried, but we have already deployed a team to the scene. The technicians will look for a solution on site to remove those animals from the community,” Muagura said.
To address the situation, local authorities, in coordination with the PNG, have created animal driving committees in communities located close to the conservation area.
Conflicts between humans and animals are frequent in rural parts close to conservation areas in Mozambique.
According to the National Administration of Conservation Areas ( ANAC), in 2020, a total of 97 Mozambicans died and 66 were injured in recorded attacks by wild animals, the majority by crocodiles.
According to official records, in the same year, 258 domestic animals, including cattle, sheep and goats, were devoured by lions, hyenas and crocodiles, and 248.81 hectares of various crops destroyed.