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Hippo put down

02 November 2004

An adult female hippo had to be put down this afternoon in the Sundays River near Mackay Bridge by rangers of the Addo Elephant National Park.

This followed numerous complaints by members of the Colchester community, particularly the Nukakamma Canoe Trails, who raised concerns about the safety of guests on their trails along the Sundays River and local residents.

Hippos are known to be potentially dangerous animals.

“Chemical immobilisation of the animal was unfortunately not an option due to the depth of the Sundays River, and the fact that the hippo stayed in the water. Darting the hippo would have resulted in it drowning as the drugs took effect. There was therefore no alternative but to shoot the hippo”, said Lucius Moolman, Park Manager at Addo.

Members of the community and general public had sighted the hippo on numerous occasions in the Colchester and Mackay Bridge area. Addo National Park rangers had been monitoring the situation with regular patrols over the past two months.

It is thought, although not confirmed, that the hippo may have escaped from the park following a flood about two years ago. Since this flood, park fences across the river near Korhaansdrif Dam in the Kirkwood area have been repaired and improved. Although this eliminated the possibility of hippos escaping, it also had the added effect of preventing this particular hippo from returning to the park.

Moolman said that despite reports from some sources that the hippo had a calf, these reports could not be confirmed despite intensive ranger patrols. “It was concluded that there was no calf. This was confirmed by a post-mortem examination which showed that the hippo was not lactating, as would have been the case had she been accompanied by a calf”.


Issued by South African National Parks

Lucius Moolman
Park Manager
Tel: (042) 233 0556

Megan Bradfield
Social Ecologist
Tel: (042) 233 0556