Despite the good rains received in the region, people of Impalila Island are being terrorised by the huge number of elephants crossing into the island from neighbouring Botswana.
It has been noted that over 100 elephants are roaming the 15.5 square kilometres inhabited by close to 2 500 residents.
In an interview yesterday, Kabbe South constituency councillor John Likando said Impalila residents are living in fear due to roaming elephants in search of vegetation and water.
“The situation has caused panic in the entire community as they can’t move freely, the elephants move in groups which make it difficult for people to move between villages in search of daily needs such as food, hospital visits and normal schooling for lower grades that opened in recent weeks,” he reacted.
According to Likando, the majority of learners are under age, which causes a serious danger if they are at a close range with the jumbos due to their ferociousness.
So far, there is no incident of harm on humans has been reported, but the councillor said the situation has become extremely dangerous to humans.
A local ranger stationed in the island office received numerous reports from community leaders to find ways to scare away these wild beasts.
Incidents of damage to gardens and orchards have been reported in the area.
Contacted for comment, Impalila police station commander, Inspector Mwaka Likilami confirmed the issue, saying elephants are migrating in large numbers from Botswana famed for its large elephant herds that attract tourists.
She said there are more than 100 elephants with some having up to 60 calves.
“Most of the time, I used to transport them with my car. These elephants can block the whole road and its very scary and dangerous. They are problematic. They started eating up mangoes of residents,” she said.
Likilami cautioned residents to exercise extra care, especially when travelling between villages or to town. She also urged the ministry of environment to beef up its manpower to assist in scaring off elephants, saying the only local game ranger available in the area is not enough.
Likando said the ranger also informed them about an injured hippo roaming around the harbour, popularly known as jet. This is a point widely used by residents in getting river transport to commute to Katima Mulilo and other surrounding areas like Kasika and Mbalasinte.
“This hippo is at times vicious,” he noted. – firstname.lastname@example.org