Hippos have eaten and destroyed an estimated four hectares of maize fields belonging to nine farmers among them chief Ntambu in Kasanjiku and Kabombu in Mwinilunga district of Northwestern province.
Mwinilunga District Commissioner, Arnot Mapulanga confirmed the development to ZANIS when he conducted an on the spot check of the damage in the area yesterday.
He said the animals that are invading the fields both during the day and at night, should immediately be stopped before they cause more damage.
Mr Mapulanga said one of the hippos is becoming aggressive and charges towards anyone attempting to scare it away.
He said government, through the disaster management and mitigation unit (DMMU), should determine how best the affected farmers will be helped.
Mr Mapulanga has since called on the department of National Parks and Wildlife to consider cropping at least two of the hippos as a way to scare away the rest.
Meanwhile, Chief Ntambu explained to Mr Mapulanga during a courtesy call on him at his palace that efforts to scare away the animals by the area warden and the village scouts have so far failed.
Chief Ntambu said about five adult hippos with three smaller ones are finding it easy to access the fields due to floods that have burst the banks of the Kabompo river.
The chief expressed worry that human lives may equally be lost if nothing is done to arrest the situation and has echoed recommendations by the District Commissioner to have the animals cropped.