THE Zimbabwe Parks and Wildlife Management Authority (Zimparks) has launched an investigation after 11 carcasses of hippos were found in Mlibizi, Binga this week.
No cause of death has been established although there are fears of poisoning, while villagers from nearby communities reportedly feasted on the game meat.
The carcasses were discovered on Sunday and Monday in the Kavira forest land near the Zambezi River and there are fears there could be more dead hippos.
Rangers from Zimparks and officials from the Communal Areas Management Programmes for Indigenous Resources (CAMPFIRE), Veterinary Services Department, Environmental Management Agency and police are on the ground searching for more bodies and possible leads to the cause of the deaths which has shocked the resort district town on Binga.
Authorities at Zimparks said a detailed report will only be availed once investigations are complete and established what could have killed the hippos, valued at an estimated $2000 to $3000 each.
Though dangerous, hippos are one of the endangered species together with elephants and rhinos.
“Some people bumped on the carcasses in the bush near the river and alerted others. Parks officials attended the scene but couldn’t establish what killed the hippos until another team came from Hwange which is still in the bush searching,” said a fisherman identified as Solomon Munkuli.
Six carcasses were found on Sunday while two others were found on Monday.
The incident comes at a time when the country is battling rampant poaching where illegal hunters poison water sources with the deadly cyanide substance which saw hundreds of elephants dying in the last two years.