Wildlife

Hyena Terror Grips Eastern Zimbabwe

Hyenas in parts of Zimbabwe are turning from their usual prey to attack humans moving into their habitat

Whereas the animals had previously gone after only livestock, attacks by rabid hyenas in eastern Zimbabwe are forcing residents to remain indoors at night and leaving many too afraid to collect food even during the day.

But an expanding population and development are now bringing humans into contact with the mainly nocturnal predators.

“We used to hear hyenas laughing from a distance, and everyone knew that they would not travel all that way to attack humans,” local man Charles Mukanwa told a Harare-based daily.

“But now the situation is different. We have people who are building their houses where the wild animals used to dominate,” Mukanwe said.

A recent attack took villagers by surprise as one of the apparently rabid animals attacked people sitting in their huts.

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Proposed Antarctic Ocean Reserve Downsized

A proposal to create a marine protected area in Antarctica’s Ross Sea that would cover some 875,000 square miles (2.3 million square kilometres) has been revised to reduce the reserve’s size by about 40 percent. The revisions came after China, Norway, Russia and other countries that are members of the Commission for the Conservation of Antarctic Marine Living Resources questioned the legality of creating the reserve and balked at blocking off so much of the productive region to commercial fishing.

The original proposal was made by the United States and New Zealand, and environmentalists have accused the two countries of caving to pressures from other nations, the New York Times reported. A coalition of environmental groups called the Antarctic Ocean Alliance called the new proposal a “tactical mistake and a significant retreat for Southern Ocean protection,” the paper reported.

The proposal, along with a separate one to create a network of seven reserves in the eastern Antarctic, will be discussed at a meeting of the commission in Hobart, Australia, next month.

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