Monday, 17 July 2017

ZAMBIA: Baboon "Engineer" Cuts Power In Livingstone, Zambia

An "Engineer" baboon in Zambia has tampered with the cables at a power station in the south of the country leaving 50,000 people without electricity.

The country’s power producer, ZESCO, confirmed to local media that the baboon had accidentally tampered with high voltage machines. The resulting blackout he said affected about 50,000 customers living in Livingstone and the Western province.

It caused the blackout on Sunday morning by climbing into the power station and pulling at the lines.

The baboon survived the "massive electric shock" that would have killed a human being, a power company spokesman said.
A person would also have been prosecuted, Henry Kapata added.

The animal according to ZESCO spokesperson, Henry Kapata, has since been handed over to the Zambia Wildlife Authority (ZAWA) and is currently in Intensive Care Unit.

The lines the baboon was tampering with are extremely high voltage. You can see that it was electrocuted in so many ways but it has survived. It is an animal, we cannot prosecute it otherwise if it was a human we would have taken it to court.

The baboon was rescued by a wildlife organisation and is now recovering but has serious wounds.

The power station is in the Zambian tourist city of Livingstone, where it is common for wild animals to be roaming around as it near a national park.

Electricity has now been restored to the affected customers in Livingstone and the nearby Western Province.

The baboon tampered with the A station and the B3 and B5 machines in our power station cutting electricity to Western Province and of course Livingstone town so we have about 28,000 customers in Livingstone and 22,000 customers in Western Province.

So the baboon cut our power station around 06:50 hours, Kapata said.

The lines the baboon was tampering with are extremely high voltage.

You can see that it was electrocuted in so many ways but it has survived. It is an animal, we cannot prosecute it otherwise if it was a human we would have taken it to court.

Zambia, a major copper producer has been in a politically tensed state following disputed elections held in August last year. The President declared a state of emergency recently after a market fire believed to have been cause by acts of sabotage.

It’s main opposition chief is in jail pending a treason trial for blocking the presidential motorcade months back. The main opposition bloc in parliament has also been suspended for disobeying the president. Civil society groups in the country have voiced concerns over the ‘charged’ political atmosphere.

In a similar incident last year, a monkey caused a nationwide power outage in Kenya.

A single monkey caused a nationwide blackout in Kenya after falling on to a crucial piece of equipment.

The monkey fell on a transformer at the Gitaru hydroelectric power station on Tuesday, electricity provider KenGen said in a statement.

The transformer then tripped, resulting in the loss of 180 megawatts of power and triggering a blackout across Kenya.

Power was restored almost four hours later and the monkey survived its adventure, KenGen said.

It was taken away by the Kenya Wildlife Service.

KenGen power installations are secured by electric fencing which keeps away marauding wild animals, the statement said.

"We regret this isolated incident and the company is looking at ways of further enhancing security at all our power plants."

Businesses suffered as a result of the Monkey adventures that caused the blackout.

Many had installed generators as a result of previous blackouts, it said.




Tourism Observer
www.tourismobserver.com