Friday, July 13, 2012

Hippo Human interaction.

We have to look at the factors surrounding Hippo's in St Lucia Estuary from a very holistic prospective. 

Hippo has been roaming the streets of St Lucia since as far back as the town has been proclaimed. Various attacks over the years has been recorded and the last known fatal attack in the streets of St Lucia was in Kingfisher street in and around 1978/79/80. A gentleman was attacked and almost bitten in half.

Since the prolonged drought of 2000 Hippo sightings in the small town has increased a lot. With out the tidal movement of the Estuary more and more pods of Hippo has moved down towards the town and it is amazing that fatal incidents are so few and far in-between. 

Human interference as far inland as Vryheid has changed the habitat of these gracious animals for ever, but the more recent rapid expansion of human population explosion on the Western Shores has forced many grazing animals to seek refuse in areas where they find least resistance. 

Hippo have large grazing territories and dominant Bulls can be very territorial. To relocate a dominant bull is not only physically difficult, but also troublesome since one can interfere with a well balanced pod else where. Only people with great experience will be able to make rational decisions and we can only hope that the public will respect the valuable input of the relevant authorities.

Public Hysteria and Emotional outcry will not help the management of a tragic situation. We can only sit and wait and respect the methods used to control problem animals by the relevant Authorities.

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