(CNN) — A pack of hyenas killed an elderly man in Zimbabwe after dragging 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 region of Chirumanzu, in central Zimbabwe.
By the time the villagers discovered Maseka’s body, the lower half was missing.
Park 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.
Confirming the attack on Twitterwrote: “An elderly man who was killed by a pack of hyenas in Chirumanzu (87 years old) was staying alone. He was sleeping in a hut when the unfortunate incident happened. He was dragged about 300 meters, the lower part of the body was missing. they saw drag marks and hyena tracks.
The same pack of hyenas is believed to have been responsible for a recent series of attacks on cattle and goats in the area.
Maseka was buried on Thursday. Locals were urged to be vigilant, avoid moving 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 down problem animals with a view to eliminating them. If we had enough resources, we would have moved them from overcrowded areas to where there is less population.”
Attacks by hyenas and other animals usually happen at this time
Animal attacks are common during the summer, according to Farawo.
“These things typically happen this time of year because these are the drier months where food and water are typically 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 human-wildlife conflict,” said Farawo, who believes 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 largely caused by overpopulation of animals. This has been made worse by the destruction of their habitats by climate change, while the Covid-19 pandemic has made things worse, she said.
In normal years, wildlife authorities rely primarily on tourism for income, Farawo explained. “But tourism in 2020 faces a dire situation, which has left us without the resources to fund our preservation efforts,” she said.