(CNN) — A herd of hyenas killed an elderly man in Zimbabwe, after pulling him out of bed while he slept.
The man, whom authorities identified as 87-year-old Tendai Maseka, was dragged about 300 meters from his mud and wood hut.
The incident occurred Monday night in the rural Chirumanzu region of central Zimbabwe.
By the time the villagers discovered Maseka’s body, the lower half was missing.
The rangers are hunting the animals in an attempt to “eliminate” them, according to Tinashe Farawo, a spokesperson for the Zimbabwe Parks and Wildlife Management Authority.
By confirming the attack in Twitter, wrote: “An old man who was killed by a herd of hyenas in Chirumanzu (87 years old) was being left alone. He was sleeping in a shack when the unfortunate incident happened. They dragged him about 300 meters, his lower body was missing. Trawl marks and hyena tracks were visible. ‘
The same herd of hyenas is believed to have been responsible for a recent series of attacks on cattle and goats in the area.
Maseka was buried Thursday. Locals were urged to be vigilant, avoid moving around at night and keep all doors and windows closed until the animals are captured, Farawo said.
Farawo told CNN: “We are on the ground trying to track problem animals with a view to eliminating them. If we had enough resources, we would have moved them from overpopulated areas to where there is less population.
Attacks by hyenas and other animals usually happen around this time
Animal attacks are common during the summer, according to Farawo.
“These things usually happen at this time of year because it’s the driest months where food and water are normally scarce, so animals move long distances – and into communities – in search of food, he told CNN.
“This is the 60th human life lost this year alone to the human-wildlife conflict,” said Farawo, who believes that more than six hyenas were responsible for Maseka’s death.
According to Farawo, half of the incidents involved elephants. At least three involved lions.
Hyenas have also been known to attack, he said, recalling an incident last year in which two young brothers were killed while picking fruit.
The problem, he added, is caused in large part by overpopulation of animals. This has been compounded by the destruction of their habitats by climate change, while the covid-19 pandemic has made things worse, he said.
In normal years, wildlife authorities rely primarily on tourism for income, Farawo explained. “But tourism in 2020 faces a terrible situation, which has left us without resources to finance our preservation efforts,” he said.