Space for Giants

Elephants terrorise villagers in Mozambique

Agence France Presse April 18, 2012 MAPUTO — Rampaging elephants are terrorising Mozambican villages near the Zimbabwe border, attacking people, trampling crops and scaring children, state-run newspaper Noticias reported Wednesday.

"We are using traditional ways to try to scare the animals, but all in vain, because whenever we do something, the monsters disappear for a few days, and when they come back there is no peace," local farmer Joseph Maithe told the paper. "It even seems they come back to take revenge."

Locals living near the remote village of Mucumbura complain they are living in a state of siege as elephants lay waste to their crops, the paper said. They say children in the area are terrified to walk to school for fear of crossing paths with their tormentors, who recently trampled on and injured a local teacher, it added. Possible solutions to the human-elephant conflict, authorities say, include creating an elephant reserve in the area, relocating farmers from the animals' migratory path and installing drinking water for people so they do not have to share watering holes with elephants.

"The government cannot kill wild animals, it would create disequilibrium in the ecosystem," provincial governor Alberto Vaquina told the paper. Much of the southern African country's wildlife was killed off during a brutal 16-year civil war that ended two decades ago. In recent years the government has tried to revive its wildlife population in hopes of boosting tourism.

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