WINDHOEK - As a mitigation measure, the Ministry of Environment and Tourism (MET) has drilled a borehole to pump water into drying up ponds to save about 68 stranded hippos that are fighting not only for territorial space but also survival in the Chobe River.
Environment and Tourism Minister, Pohamba Shifeta, yesterday confirmed that the ministry has drilled a borehole to fill the ponds with water in an effort to save the stranded hippos in muddy streams in the Zambezi region.
This comes after the spokesperson for the Ministry of Environment and Tourism Romeo Muyunda confirmed that 68 hippos were seen struggling in a small pond that forms part of the Chobe River.
Due to the current drought, the Chobe and other rivers are drying out and breaking into small ponds and the more than 60 hippos are in one of them.
The lingering drought and the drying up of the river are reportedly driving hippos and crocodiles into new areas to search much further for water.
Shifeta attributed the situation of the 68 hippos stranded in the Chobe River to the effects of climate change.
Therefore, he said an emergency borehole was successfully drilled on Tuesday and has already started pumping 12,000 litres per hour.
He added that the water pressure is likely to be increased from 12 000 litres per hour to 20 000 litres per hour to pump more water.
Furthermore, he explained that the one borehole that has been drilled is sufficient, as it is pumping enough water. So, there was no need for a second borehole.
Asked on the stranded animals’ health condition, Shifeta said the situation is normal now and hippos are no longer in life-threatening condition.
“They are safe until the next rains,” Shifeta noted.
Initially, the ministry also had an option to save the stranded hippos through relocating them to another part of the river or the hippos would move by themselves when the situation detects.
However, Shifeta said no translocation took place and there would be no need anymore.
New Era recently reported that community members staying at the cattle post at Lungala said the hippos are trapped in no man’s land, and in a matter of weeks they could start dying as the water where they are trapped is fast drying out.
Tronah Masiye, a community member in Lungala area, said the stranded hippos are in trouble and if nothing is done soon, they may start dying.
Lungala is situated about 10 km southeast of Mutikitila in Katima Mulilo Rural Constituency, at the border between Namibia and Botswana where more than 60 hippos are stranded in a shallow pool of muddy water.
2019-08-15 07:27:02 7 days ago