Hippos trapped in drying Chobe

Environmental officials are considering the best way of saving the lives of 63 hippos trapped in the receding waters of the Chobe River on the Botswana border.

06 August 2019 | Environment

More than 60 hippos are trapped in the shallow waters of the Chobe River between Namibia and Botswana, which is drying out due to the drought. Environment ministry spokesperson Romeo Muyunda confirmed on Friday that 63 hippos as well as crocodiles are struggling to get out of a pond in the Chobe River. “The river is drying out, breaking into little ponds of water, and the 63 hippos are in one of them,” said Muyunda.

According to him the water level is becoming extremely shallow and calls have been made for intervention by both Namibia and Botswana to save the animals.

He said talks are currently under way between the two countries to look at how best to address the situation. Possible action could include drilling holes to pump water into the ponds, before relocating the hippos to another part of the river.

“The hippos could also move by themselves, when the situation subsides,” said Muyunda.

According to him the ministry is continuing to monitor the hippos, while discussions are ongoing with Botswana.

He added that the ministry will also undertake a helicopter assessment this month to verify whether there is any other similar situations in other parts of the Zambezi and Kavango East regions.

In 2016 about 100 hippos were also stranded in the Sampisi River channel, which flows from the Linyanti River in the Zambezi Region, due to the severe drought and poor rainfall experienced over the past few years.

The ministry then conducted an assessment on the situation and resolved that fast intervention was needed to prevent the situation from deteriorating and the animals dying. The ministry at that time decided to drill boreholes to pump water into the ponds and the river channel, so there would be enough available water for the animals.

ELLANIE SMIT

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