Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Hippo in Tompsons Bay Ballito

I commented the other day that everything seems upside down. The weather is like it should be in spring, the sards are on vacation somewhere ....or on some middle eastern dinner plate! But imagine what went on in the minds of the guys who stumbled across the hippo yesterday morning at Thompson's Bay!!

Picture this it just getting light and you jump into the surf and start to paddle out. You are not really worried about any dangers, the sharks are sorted out with the nets and last time you checked that was about the only thing that was going to eat you.
So off you paddle and duck dive a wave smack bang into a Big lump that proceeds to snort and chomp your board in half ...... remember the old 'Chomp' ad?? It then turns to you for main course ......freak!! Who said surfing was not an extreme sport?

Jokes aside this Hippo is far from home, worse yet far from any natural habitat. If the Hippo continues south there is no safe refuge for it for 100's of kilometers. Man and Hippo's dont mix well and there are more deaths by Hippo's than any other wild animal in Africa.

Unfortunately Hippos are also almost imposable to capture, and being in the sea makes it more than an imposable task. The options are to leave the animal and hope it moves off to were it can exit the water to feed and maybe then they will be able to capture the animal. The other option is to kill the animal, sad as it sounds this might be the only real option. An oficial ranger said to me that he would rather answer questions on why he shot the animal as apposed to answering why they left the animal that killed some one. Sobering but real!

80 years ago Huberta the hippo embarked on a long journey from the place of her birth in Zululand Natal to the Keiskama River in the Eastern Cape. This journey covered 2000 km’s and lasted two and a half years. She became so famous that she was classified “Royal Game”. This meant that she was the preserve of the monarch, George V, and was protected from being harmed in any way. read more

I cant imagine a Hippo making that journey now days!!

Anyway here is a short clip I put together of our "Huberta"

If the Youtube video does not play Click Here

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