Missing Woman Found Dead With Torso Missing After Suspected Lion Attack

A lion is suspected to be responsible for the death of a woman from Zimbabwe who went missing on Friday.

The badly mutilated body of the woman, who had left Gache Gache village to travel to the Mudzimu Irrigation Scheme seven-and-a-half miles away, was discovered on Wednesday.

Gache Gache Ward 8 Councillor Kudzanayi Makanyaire confirmed the incident, The Herald reported. The publication added that the death had left the entire community shaken.

"Information at hand is that the woman visited the village on Friday and left later that day to return to the Mudzimu Irrigation Scheme," Makanyaire said. "When she left, she had a torch and was riding a bicycle. However, she did reach the village as expected by her husband."

He phoned to inquire where his wife was, only to be told she had already left. A search was launched from both locations. This concluded on Wednesday when her lower torso was discovered just 600 meters (about 2,000 feet) from her destination.

The incident was reported to the Kariba police. Locals were told not to move the body until the police could arrive and conduct an investigation, The Herald reports.

Zimbabwe is a country with an impressive wild lion population. Current estimates suggest that as many as 500 of the big cats wander the country's largest game reserve, according to Culture Trip.

Human-lion interactions become problematic, and often deadly, in other regions around the country where the animals are known to attack people and cattle.

In the Hurungwe District of Zimbabwe lions and leopards had already killed more than 20 cattle and 30 goats by the end of April 2021.

Safaris Africa says that across the whole of Africa, lions kill approximately 200 people every year. While many of those killed are tourists, the majority are locals going about their everyday business.

In Zimbabwe, this can lead locals to be dispassionate about the killing of the big cats. When a lion called Cecil was killed in 2015 by an American hunter in Zimbabwe, it sparked outrage in the States.

Talk show host, Jimmy Kimmel spoke about the incident on his talk show, assuring that "not all Americans are like this jackhole." Zimbabwean doctoral student studying molecular medicine in the U.S., Goodwell Nzou, offered a different take on the killing of lions in his home country in an opinion piece for The New York Times.

He explained that upon hearing reports of the killing of the lion, he was exposed to the cultural gap between Zimbabwe and the U.S.

"When I turned on the news and discovered that the messages were about a lion killed by an American dentist, the village boy inside me instinctively cheered: One lion fewer to menace families like mine," Nzou wrote. "My excitement was doused when I realized that the lion killer was being painted as the villain. I faced the starkest cultural contradiction I'd experienced during my five years studying in the United States."

The doctoral student spoke of the experience of a lion killing livestock in villages around where he grew up. "My sisters no longer went alone to the river to collect water or wash dishes; my mother waited for my father and older brothers, armed with machetes, axes, and spears, to escort her into the bush to collect firewood.

"The lion sucked the life out of the village: No one socialized by fires at night; no one dared stroll over to a neighbor's homestead."

Zimbabwe Parks and Wildlife Management Authority spokesperson Tinashe Farawo, spoke in April of the need to deploy rangers to villages across the country to protect against lion attacks.

"We are receiving a lot of reports where animals are not only a danger to humans but their habitat as well," he said. "The situation is going to be worse in the dry season where animals will move around in search of water and food."

Farawo explained in 2020 to Anadolu Agency what is driving confrontations between wild animals like lions and humans. "The population of our animals has increased at least 20 folds, while the population of humans has increased about 15 folds since 1980.

"Our land is not expanding, hence, there is some growing competition for resources leading to the loss of lives."

lion
A stock image of an African lion. A missing woman was discovered dismembered in Zimbabwe on Wednesday, the victim of a suspected lion attack. SeymsBrugger/getty