Zimbabwean eaten by lions while having a shower

A lion in southern Africa (Archive shot November 2006) Conservationists say poaching and illegal hunting in the national parks is upsetting the animals

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A Zimbabwean man has been killed by a pride of lions while having a shower in a safari camp near the Zambezi River, a conservationist group has said.

It happened last Friday afternoon, but details of the attack in the Mana Pools National Park are still emerging.

Johnny Rodrigues of the Zimbabwe Conservation Task Force blamed a spate of wild animal killings on poaching.

"Usually you hardly hear of anything like this, but these animals are being traumatised," he told BBC News.

Peter Evershed was on a fishing trip in the remote Mana Pools area with three people, including his brother-in-law, when he was attacked.

"These fishing camps don't have security fences, but that's why people go there - and you go there at your own risk because it's a wildlife area and they're trying to keep it as natural as possible," Mr Rodrigues said.

Eight villagers were attacked by lions earlier in the year - but 200km to 300km (125 to 185 miles) further down the river, he said.

Last month, a South African tourist was killed by an elephant who attacked him as he approached a houseboat on Lake Kariba.

"There's been a lot of snaring and shooting of animals in the area so it's upset the animals," he said.

'Hogwash'

He dismissed reports that lions were being lured into camps with meat by tour operators.

Start Quote

When there is no food, people resort to snaring the wildlife”

End Quote Johnny Rodrigues ZCTF

"You're going into a wildlife area, you should be aware that it is risky but no hunter or anybody entices lions to come near the camps - that's a lot of hogwash."

Zimbabwe's wildlife has been severely affected by the country's economic decline over the last decade as people turn to poaching and illegal hunting for food.

"When there is no food, people resort to snaring the wildlife," Mr Rodrigues said.

The coalition government that came to power 20 months ago with the promise of turning around the economy has not eased the situation, nor has tourism picked up, he said.

"We don't have the tourists - if we had the tourists it would actually work."

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