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Emergency measures saved stranded hippos

Emergency measures saved stranded hippos

Niël Terblanché

AN urgent intervention by the Ministry of Wildlife and Tourism to save 63 hippopotamuses in north eastern Namibia has ended with positive results after a borehole was sunk to pump water into a pool where the animals were stranded.
The group of hippos was observed wallowing in a shrinking pond that formed in the bed Chobe River after the river dried up due to the current drought affecting large parts of the Southern African region.
The Minister of Environment and Tourism, Pohamba Shifeta, went to inspect the bore hole and level of water in the pool that has since been kept full of water with the aid of a pump.

Pictured: The pool of water as seen from the air. The hippos that became stranded in the dried up bed of the Chobe River can be seen in the top left part of pool. – Photo: Courtesy of Mr. Pohamba Shifeta, the Minister of Environment and Tourism.

“At the moment the hippos are safe and will be able to make use of the pool for as long was water is pumped into it. What also happened is that the communities surrounding the pool have benefited from the water we continuously pump into the pool. The people’s live stock and the wildlife from Botswana are drinking from the pool and are able to survive because of the timely intervention,” Shifeta said.
The minister indicated that a second bore hole might be sunk and that a bigger pump will be needed soon if the river bed stays dry because of the drought.
Before the intervention the MET entered into talks with the counterparts from Botswana for possible cooperation but in the end Namibia funded the operation because Botswana had other more pressing priorities in dealing with the drought situation across the border.
Minister Shifeta said that currently water is pumped into the pool for eight hours per day at a rate of 14 000 litres per hour.
“I am happy with the condition of the animals. The water level went up significantly and the animals are not under threat any longer. It is amazing to see the thousands of animals gathered at the pool because of the intervention.”
Minister Shifeta said officials from the MET will continue to monitor the hippos and the general conditions at the pool to decide if a second borehole would be needed.

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