A Bulawayo man fought off a leopard, he says after choking it with his bare hands.
Abednigo Moyo of Halale Village in Matobo was harvesting amacimbi (mopane worms) at Gumela Farm when he says his dogs disappeared into a thicket and started barking.
When he went to investigate the source of the disturbance, he says the leopard launched at him leading to a tense three-minute battle which would end with the animal dead.
Moyo and his brother, Isaac, have been charged with poaching after the latter, who raced to the scene after hearing his brother screaming, killed the animal with an axe.
They were released on $300 bail each by a Plumtree court last week.
Moyo denies that he was hunting. Instead, he says he and his brother left home to go and harvest amacimbi, a seasonal delicacy found mostly in Matabeleland South.
Along the way, he said they split with Isaac, who was harvesting another patch with his wife.
His dogs left him temporarily and started barking nearby, and he went to investigate.
“Before I could see what was happening, a leopard emerged charging towards me. I tried to run but it was too late. It jumped on me. At that moment, I was just trying to survive and I found some strength I never knew I had,” Moyo, who is a caretaker at Whitewater High School, told The Sunday News.
“I grabbed it by the neck to stop it from biting me. I realised that if I don’t do something, the animal would kill me. It was either I die fighting or I get mauled,” he said.
When the leopard opened its mouth in an aggressive posture, he says he shoved his right hand into its mouth and grabbed its windpipe.
“It was painful because at the same time, the leopard was biting my hand but I was choking it from inside while the other hand was fending off its claws. I was screaming at the same time. The struggle went on for a minute or two and I could see the animal was also losing power from the choke,” he said.
Isaac arrived moments later and struck the animal with an axe, killing it instantly.
The two men left the animal where it died and Moyo was rushed to Natisa Clinic where he received treatment.
Game rangers later made a follow up and arrested the two men, accusing them of poaching.