Stranded hippos need saving now: Sampofu

21 Jul 2016 11:30am
KATIMA MULILO, 21 JUL (NAMPA) - About 100 hippopotamus are stranded in the Sampisi river channel which flows from the Linyanti River in the Zambezi Region.
These hippos are practically living on land as the water source which they rely on is drying up due to severe drought and poor rainfall experienced in the region for the past four years.
Hippos are amphibious animals and spend up to 16 hours per day in water.
Zambezi Regional Governor Lawrence Sampofu is thus calling for immediate action to rescue the hippos.
“It is a crisis. It was a sad sight seeing beautiful water animals stranded on land for long. These animals need to be evacuated soon; they need saving now or they will all die. The water level of the channel they live in is drying up fast,” he said.
Sampofu visited the area along with officials from the Bamunu Conservancy at Chichimani, Ministry of Environment and Tourism, and Namibian Special Field Force to assess the situation last Friday.
The governor told Nampa on Tuesday that on his return, he wrote an official letter to the Environment and Tourism minister to make a quick call for action, suggesting that the hippos be sedated and relocated to Zambezi River.
He said the Linyanti River is at its lowest, and locals can literally cross into neighbouring Botswana on foot.
“These hippos are now also facing imminent danger of being hunted down for their meat. If these hippos stray away further from the river, they will be a danger to the public if they wander into the villages,” said Sampofu.
Last week, New Era newspaper reported that parts of the Chobe River is also drying up. This has affected hundreds of hippos and crocodiles there.
The newspaper quoted Environment and Tourism Regional Services and Parks Management Director, Colgar Sikopo as saying hippos and crocodiles are now trapped in muddy pools, while some are just living on land without food.
He added that floodwater did not reach Lake Lyambezi to enable it to flow into the Linyanti-Kwando rivers.