A 57-year-old woman has been killed while on a fishing trip on the Zambezi River in Lusaka Province, Zambia. Sophia Njovu of the village of Muchingamire was dragged into the river by the animal on Saturday 23 September 2017, near Chiawa in Kafue District. This was the fifth Crocodile-related death in the country in the last two years. In a separate incident, a man was injured by another Crocodile while swimming in the Zambezi near Kanyachi in Chavuma District of Northwestern Province. Boyd Funga, 33, was attacked on Friday 22 September, and is being treated in the Chavuma Mission Hospital for injuries to his legs and chest.
The approximate location of the 23 September 2017 Chiawa Crocodile attack. Google Maps.
Zambia is home to two Crocodile species, the Nile Crocodile, Crocodylus niloticus, and the Slender Snouted Crocodile, Crocodilus cataphractus, though the later is found only around Lake Bangweulu and the Luapula River, so the Zambezi River attacks were almost certainly carried out by Nile Crocodiles. Nile Crocodiles are large animals, reaching about five meters in length, and are ambush predators capable of taking large prey, including, on occasion, Humans. The animals are thought to be at their most dangerous around September on the Zambezi, when the water is lowest, and females are guarding eggs buried in nests by the river.
A Nile Crocodile, Crocodylus niloticus, in South Luangwa National Park, Zambia. Hana Yariv/Wikimedia Commons.
Nile Crocodiles are considered to be of Least Concern under the terms of the International Union for the Conservation of Nature’s Red List of Threatened Species, but are still protected in many countries, including Zambia, due to historic hunting which decimated populations in many areas. However, the rising number of attacks on Humans by the animals has led to calls for regulated hunting to be introduced to control the population.
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