Around 50 elephants, which reportedly escaped from a conservation area in Zimbabwe, have invaded residential areas in Machaze district, in Manica province, central Mozambique, an official source said on Friday.
“Early this morning local people informed us that there was a herd [of elephants] that is moving in Machaze,” said Francisca Tomás, governor of Manica, cited by Mozambican television station Televisão de Moçambique.
According to Tomás, technicians were sent to chase the animals away believing they were “just a few elephants, as has been usual” in the region, but “it was actually a herd of 50,” she said, adding that the group had not claimed any victims.
Elephants and other animals invade communities in that district with some frequency, destroying crop areas.
According to the authorities, Machaze is on the list of districts with the highest number of cases of conflict between man and fauna in Manica.
According to the most recent official data, from 2020, a total of 97 Mozambicans died and 66 were injured in recorded attacks alone (others are not reported) by wild animals, mostly by crocodiles, according to the National Administration of Conservation Areas (ANAC).
In the same year 258 domestic animals, including cattle, sheep and goats, were devoured by lions, hyenas and crocodiles, in addition to 248.81 hectares of various crops destroyed.