Nxaraga hippos surviving drought thanks to human help
The Elephant Protection Society says since they started feeding stranded hippos inNxaraga lagoon at the start of October, they have not recorded any hippo deaths.
This, despite the continuing drought and the drying up of the lagoon, located about an hour’s drive out of Maun.
The organisation’s Public Relations Officer, OaitseNawa, stated this week that the survival of the 80 remaining hippos in Nxaraga is because the animals are responding well to their feeding schedule.
“In August, the organisation observed that there were about 150 hippos at Nxaraga lagoon. Towards the end of September, the lagoon dried and many of the hippos moved to Nxaitsha lagoon. It was observed that the population of the hippos had decreased from 150 to around 80. As a result, Elephants Protection Society took an initiative to feed these hippos,’’ Nawa explained.
According to Nawa, the plan is to feed the hippos until the end of the dry spell.
The society also intends to raise awareness for conservation and protection of endangered species by teaching the community how to co-exist with wildlife and to further educate communities about sustainable development.
Nearly two months ago, the department of Wildlife and National Parks in Maun drilled boreholes and refilled the hippo pools along the delta area. However, the measures excluded Nxaraga lagoon.
The department’s argument was that they were more concerned with helping the animals located in protected areas rather than those outside the parks.
Nevertheless, with the intense heat currently being experienced in the area – most days temperatures reach 43C – the water is rapidly drying up, causing animals to move from these protected areas and closer to villages in search of water and food.
In the process, a number of human/wildlife conflicts have occurred, resulting in at least two human casualties.
The department has since captured hippos and crocodiles from pools along the Thamalakane river in Maun to save both the animals and people from danger.