There are certain situations that compel people to be engaged in activities that others will never think of ever doing. In Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe, residents scrambled for elephant meat.
An elephant had been wreaking havoc in the local area, posing very serious threats to the residents. To eliminate such a danger that had put the lives of the residents at real risk, the Zimbabwe Parks and Wildlife Management Authority (Zimparks) rangers shot the elephant down.
They were not aware that there would be high demand for the elephant meat, as residents made long queues just to get the meat.
The male elephant was gunned down in Mkhosana suburb, and after the rangers had gunned the elephant down, they allowed residents to share the meat among themselves. The meat attracted many people, with some walking distances of up to 20 km just to get a share of the meat.
But, is it because people enjoy scrambling for elephant meat? The residents said that the biting economic challenges that Zimbabwe is facing forced them to want to get a share.
Olimphas Ncube, a resident from Mkhosana suburb said that some of the residents had slept guarding the meat the whole night because people wanted to share it among themselves.
"We were with the Zimparks rangers who started distributing the meat in the morning. Some couldn’t get because the queues were too long and some people were refusing to join the long winding queues."
"l managed to walk away with intestines. People here are driven by the social and economic hardships such that they have to settle for anything."
When things are not moving in the positive direction, it boils down to survival by any means. Another resident spoke of how she managed to get meat that is enough to feed her children for 2 days. Rural and urban people were all there to get the meat, and some ended up getting what they did not anticipate to get. It seems that if rangers keep gunning down the animals, that is the only way some residents can afford to get meat.
Elephants that encroach into human settlements causing problems to humans and infrastructure are usually gunned down by the rangers.
There are some experts however who have warned that with time, the greatest threat to elephants could become the demand for their meat. Elephant meat has always been consumed since beginning of the Middle Palaeolithic, around 120,000 BCE. Africans whose existence was centred around hunting and gathering exploited herds of elephant for their meat.
The situation in Zimbabwe is unkind right now, and one can only hope for the best really.
Header image credit - CITE Zimbabwe