Zimparks should deal with ‘Macheni’

THE Gatche-Gatche community on the shores of Lake Kariba make their living mainly from fishing.

It has been their way of life for as long as they can remember and it’s something that they are not going to change anytime soon.

They are used to seeing crocodiles and hippos and other animals because their community is perched right in the heart of a wildlife paradise.

They are also used to seeing the conflicts between humans and wildlife and they are a community which, over the years, has lost a sizable number of their people to such confrontations.

But, it’s also fair to say that this community has never seen anything like the mysterious crocodile called Macheni, which they claim has supernatural powers and only devours the private parts of its victims.

They claim the elusive giant reptile has killed more than 21 people, mainly fishermen, and all of them lost their private parts while the other parts of their bodies were left intact.

The crocodile has been nicknamed “Macheni,” because of its weird taste for the private parts of human beings and this has fed suspicion, within the community, that this is not an ordinary crocodile.

They also claim that it is too elusive for officials from the Zimbabwe Parks and Wildlife Management Authority to track it down and kill it.

Most, if not all of the attacks, the sources said, have happened around the same area.

Zimparks spokesperson, Tinashe Farawo, responded to H-Metro enquiries by telling this newspaper that residents of the affected area believe this is a “spiritual crocodile.”

His response showed that a total of 32 lives were lost from crocodile attacks in Lake Kariba, between Sanyati River and the Lake Kariba Dam Wall, between 2016 and 2023.

He also revealed that between 2016 and 2023, 38 crocodiles were eliminated during the same period and over 40 crocodiles were also captured and translocated.

“While the fact that the attacks are caused by only one crocodile remains an assumption, efforts have been made by Zimparks to assess the area and to eliminate suspect crocodiles in the general area.

“The fishers have a belief that the crocodile is a spiritual crocodile and this is the reason they named it ‘Macheni,’ since they claim that the crocodile used to only remove testicles from men after the attack.”

What has emerged here is that there is a dispute between the villagers and Zimparks as to whether Macheni really exists.

The villagers are adamant that the killer crocodile exists and is somewhere in the Lake Kariba waters waiting for another opportunity to strike.

The Zimparks officials appear to suggest that the fishers created a perfect storm, which then triggered the attacks in a particular area, when they converged there because there were some rich pickings from the lake.

Whatever the case, what isn’t in doubt is that the villagers are afraid and living in a state of fear.

Something has to be done to help them.

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