Sharai Mawera died on Tuesday after the lion pounced as she enjoyed a romantic al fresco moment with her unnamed partner.
The My Zimbabwe news website reported that the predator attacked the couple at a secluded spot in the bush near the northern town of Kariba. Ms Mawera's boyfriend, who has not been identified, is believed to have jumped up and fled in the nude when the lion lunged forward.
|The predator attacked the couple at a secluded spot in the bush near the northern town of Kariba|
A source told the newspaper the young woman died at the scene. He said: "Unfortunately the woman was mauled to death by the lion, but her boyfriend managed to escape naked."
A friend of the couple told My Zimbabwe Ms Mawera had worked at the local market and that her partner was a fisherman. The friend said the couple had met at the same spot before.
"The lion came from behind and roared," the friend was quoted as saying. The man managed to escape, stopping at a distance to look back and witness his girlfriend being attacked before rushing to the road to seek help, the friend said.
Local police and armed rangers from the Zimbabwe Parks and Wildlife Management Authority rushed to the scene, where the source said they fired a single shot - but it was too late for Ms Mawera. She had been mauled in the neck and stomach, and was covered in bloody bruises, the source said.
Rangers launched a hunt for the lion following the tragedy, amid concern the same animal may have killed a local man who disappeared at the weekend.The remains of the victim were found on Tuesday on the outskirts of the town, which lies near the Zambezi river. Police believe the man, who has not been named, was mauled by a lion as he walked home from a nightclub.
Zimbabwe's state-controlled Herald newspaper reported that officers believed the fact the woman killed yesterday was mauled rather than eaten suggested the same lion could have been responsible for both attacks and not regained its appetite since devouring part of its first victim.
The newspaper added: "Residents of the town are now living in fear as the lions are still roaming freely as there are yet to be caught."