Special Report Filed by AAF Correspondents: Miki and Jeanne Perez-Lizano

HOME   Big Cats Kill 21 in Tanzania

November 5, 1999

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By RODIRIQUE NGOWI Associated Press Writer

DAR ES SALAAM, Tanzania (AP) -- Lions and leopards have killed 21 people in southern Tanzania this year, largely because a severe drought has killed their normal prey, a government official said Friday.

``Drought has forced older animals to move closer to human settlement in search of food and into killing people they come across during late hours,'' Natural Resources Minister Zakia Meghji said.

She said the government has sent armed scouts to the area to hunt down the man-eaters.

``Experience has shown that once a lion has a taste of human blood, the beast will come back for more and it must be eliminated,'' she said in a telephone interview from Dodoma, the capital.

Some people make matters worse by settling in isolated areas surrounded by tall grass that provides cover for lions and leopards, the minister said.

``They creep close to the homesteads and then attack,'' she said.

Other animals, including crocodiles and hippopotamuses, have injured 22 people along Tanzania's coastal region this year, Meghji said.

The government has no plans to target crocodiles and hippopotamuses. While crocodiles sometimes go for people washing clothes along river banks, she said, they do not leave their natural habitat to attack humans.

Copyright © Associated Press.

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