Lions have attacked and killed a tourist while he was showering at an unfenced campsite in a nature reserve, a conservationist has said, adding that such fatal encounters are on the rise because of poaching.
Peter Evershed, a 59-year-old businessman, was mauled by five lions while showering under a tree at the Chitake Springs bush camp in the Mana Pools nature reserve, said Zimbabwe Conservation Task Force head Johnny Rodrigues.
Mr Evershed was the last of his group of family and friends to take a shower as darkness fell on Saturday. They heard Mr Evershed scream and raced to the showers but he was already dead from a gash to the throat, Mr Rodrigues said.
The lions retreated only after a safari operator pulled up in a vehicle with its headlights on and fired shots into the air, Mr Rodrigues told Zimbabwe Herald Online.
"We appeal to everyone to exercise extreme caution. Animals have become extremely unpredictable," Mr Rodrigues said, adding that a surge in poaching has made animals more dangerous to humans.
Last month, South African business executive Don Hornsby was killed by an elephant in the nearby Matusadona preserve. Mr Hornsby had helped fund feeding programs for orphaned animals.
Soon after Hornsby's death, veteran conservationist Steve Kok died when a wounded buffalo charge him as he was destroying traps and wire snares laid by poachers.
In September, businessman Geoff Blythe was attacked by a female elephant as he rode a bicycle ride near his home in the lakeside town of Kariba, 230 miles north-west of Harare.
Mr Blythe told family and friends he tried to pedal as fast as he could from the cow elephant and her calf but the bike chain dislodged. He dumped the bike and ran but there were no trees or power line towers near enough to climb. He threw himself into a gully of soft sand as the elephant overtook him.
The elephant gored him in the back and thigh and kicked him into thorny bushes before backing off. He suffered cuts and fractured ribs.