Matebeleland North Provincial Affairs Minister Richard Moyo was Thursday forced to cancel the launch of the presidential input scheme for the 2020/2021 farming season after a village head where the unveiling was meant to take place was trampled to death by some elephants.

The launch of the scheme where villagers receive seeds and fertiliser had been set for village 2C in Insuza, Umguza district where Moyo is also the local MP.

However, the event was moved to Tuesday next week after Colly Ndlovu, a local village head was killed on Tuesday night.

A statement from Moyo’s office stated: “Please note the presidential input scheme launch has been moved to Tuesday 15 September because a traditional leader was killed by elephants last night and the community is mourning.

“Unfortunately, one of the village heads for village 2C Colly Ndlovu has been killed by elephants so we have postponed the event.”

Insuza borders Tsholotsho district, which connects to the Hwange National Park on the western side, and Lupane on the eastern side.

There are also wild animals in the forest area which connects to Binga and Hwange.

Ndlovu’s death comes in the wake of several other incidents of people killed by elephants in the province especially in Binga, Hwange, Lupane and Tsholotsho as human-wildlife conflicts continue to escalate.

The situation has been blamed on prolonged drought resulting in serious water and pasture shortages while an increase in human activities and illegal hunting in game parks are also driving animals to human settlements.

Meanwhile, Zimbabwe National Parks (Zimparks) rangers in Gwayi Tuesday discovered a dead bull elephant valued at US$50 000 with a gun wound on its neck.

The incident was confirmed by police.

Zimparks rangers received an anonymous call informing them that there was a dead elephant in the Chimwala area, Gwayi.

The rangers proceeded to the scene and found the dead bull carcass with both tusks intact but with a gun wound on the neck amid suspicion that it may have been shot by poachers and left to die.

In a separate incident, three baby elephants were found dead, one of them crushed, at a railway line in Dete after being hit by a goods train.

A ranger from Painted Dog Conservation, Enock Zulu discovered the carcasses near Miombo Lodge closer to Dete centre and informed the police and Zimparks rangers.

Zulu who was on patrol was led to the carcasses by vultures that he spotted circling in the air. The carcasses had started decomposing and it was suspected that the elephants had died two days earlier. The cause of the death of the other two could not be ascertained.

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