By Judith Sibanda
Five families on the outskirts of Victoria Falls under Chief Mvuthu were left counting their losses after 19 cattle were killed by lightning during a heavy storm in the early hours of Saturday.
The cattle are part of a community project, which was established in 2016 by ten villagers who are into farming who are being assisted by Wild is Life Trust, an organisation that is into wild animal conservation.
The project had 72 cattle before tragedy struck.
The farmers take intervals to keep the cattle and they are meant to assist with manure for their communal farms.
The incident, according to Joseph Ncube who lost four of his cattle is suspected to have happened around 2 AM.
“I was going to take some of my cattle at the pan and before I could reach the site, some villagers called me to notify me that my cattle had been struck by the lighting,” a disheartened Ncube said.
“I lost three cows which had small calves and one ox and this is heartbreaking and shocking to me and the rest of us who were affected.”
As a way to cushion villagers for their loss, Ncube said a local company called The Lion Encounter bought the carcasses to feed their domesticated lions.
“We did our cleansing through prayers and traditional rituals and after that, the company was given the permission to buy the carcasses for US$40 each,” he said.
“Our tradition does not permit us to eat any animal that dies in such a way, so having them buying them rather consoled us because we were meant to burn or bury the carcasses.”
According to BH27A village head, Tymon Ndlovu, as part of the project Wild is Life Trust assists the farmers with capacity building, farming inputs in form of seed packs( maize and small grains), deworming and dipping services.