MET jumps to rescue desperate hippos…as streams dry up

Home National MET jumps to rescue desperate hippos…as streams dry up
MET jumps to rescue desperate hippos…as streams dry up

KATIMA MULILO – The environment ministry is drilling boreholes in some of the most affected areas of Zambezi region to save hippos as water systems continue drying up due to the prevailing drought.

This, the Ministry of Environment and Tourism (MET) says, is to avoid past experiences where hippos died in large numbers.

Zambezi regional control warden Morgan Saisai last week informed New Era that the situation of drought is dire and has placed the survival of hippos at risk. “The situation is bad. As of April, in areas like Lake Liambezi to Ngoma, we have herds of hippos already in muddy ponds. At Nkasa Rupara, we also did an assessment and it’s also drying up. If you look at the Zambezi basin, most key perennial channels are drying up which will increase conflict of wildlife because there is not enough water. If it doesn’t rain, the drought situation will be worse,” Saisai said.

Over a week ago, the ministry pumped water
the 2019 emergency borehole at Mahe [on the Namibian side with Botswana] situated south-west of Ngoma to save the stranded hippos.

“We started pumping water at our borehole. We equipped it last week. We have about 120 hippos at that water point. At the moment, these hippos will be safe because we pumped water into their channel last week already. If resources permit, we will continue pumping water more inland as elephants also started migrating into the region from Chobe and local parks. We anticipate this migration is picking up in conservancies such as Lusese, Sikunda and Salambala. We must make plans for water provision,” he indicated.

According to him, there are two windmills at Sikunga conservancy and there are plans to equip them with solar power to start pumping water there to save the animals such as elephants and giraffes.

The interventions follow an assessment made by the ministry, which revealed that some water streams which house dozens of hippos have started drying up due the drought situation, caused by lack of rainfall. In 2019, Zambezi region recorded dozens of hippos which were stuck in muddy ponds in parts of the Chobe River as water levels became low and called for intervention from Namibia and Botswana to drill emergency boreholes to pump water into the river.

There is also a need for resource mobilisation to start pumping at Lusese, he said, adding that there is also a need for boreholes and Salambala.

As such, Saisai called on patriotic Namibians and partners to come on board to raise funds to provide water for these stranded animals.

Meanwhile, he said at Sobe conservancy in the Kwando area, there is water connectivity. Therefore, they also need to ensure water is provided to save animals from dying of thirst.

“We have two water points in Mudumo. We also need to ensure it starts functioning. We also need to provide water in the corridor of the Kwando area. We need resources to support water provision to save our wildlife animals,” he appealed.