Hwange — Concern has been raised after a speeding 40-tonne coal mining dump truck belonging to Zambezi Gas and Coal Mine hit and killed two jumbos last Tuesday night.
The accident happened near Sinamatela Camp on the edge of the Hwange National Park where Zambezi Gas carries out open cast mining, south west of Makomo Resources, another coal miner.
However, preliminary investigations indicate the truck driver was speeding despite poor lighting from the vehicle’s faulty headlights.
The general speed limit within national park areas is 40km per hour.
While the driver, whose name could not be readily established, escaped unscathed, a big female elephant and its sub-adult calf died on the spot.
While Zambezi Gas dismissed the incident as a mere accident, Zimparks is investigating the matter.
“It is unfortunate that two elephants have been killed by a truck in a road accident in Hwange. We are investigating the circumstances around the issue,” Zimparks spokesperson Tinashe Farawo said.
Wild animals especially elephants, buffaloes and giraffes usually roam the area with jumbos going as far as nearby villages, and sometimes disturbing mining operations.
Zambezi Gas is an indigenous company that was formed a few years ago.
However, wildlife conservationists in Hwange have implored mining companies operating around the coal mining town to exercise extreme caution to protect wild animals and the environment.
Elisabeth Pasalk, who chairs the Hwange Tourism Association said: “There is a need to pay attention to wildlife so that we protect the same animals that bring us tourists.”
Mining activities within wildlife conservation areas have been a thorny issue in Hwange.
More than three months ago government drew the ire of the local residents and international community when it awarded a special mining grant to two Chinese companies to explore for coal in the Hwange National Park.
The grants were cancelled following the outcry.