In a display of cooperation between the Department of National Parks and Wildlife and the Livingstone City Council Fire Brigade, a hippopotamus has been successfully rescued from a septic tank in Dambwa Site and Service Township, Livingstone.
The incident unfolded after concerned residents reported the presence of the stranded hippo, believed to have strayed from its natural habitat in the Mosi Oa Tunya National Park. According to Andrew Mukupa, the Senior Warden for the Department of National Parks and Wildlife in the Southern Region, the hippo had been trapped in the septic tank since Saturday evening, approximately at 22:00 hours.
Mukupa explained that the operation to rescue the animal required the delicate breaking of the septic tank’s walls to ensure the hippo’s safe exit without causing any harm to the creature. After a successful extraction, the hippo has been safely relocated back to its natural habitat within the national park.
However, this heartwarming rescue story is marred by an unfortunate backdrop of human-animal conflict in the area. Mukupa expressed disappointment that local residents had vandalized the wire fence erected by the department to mitigate such conflicts. The incident underscores the ongoing challenges faced by communities residing in proximity to wildlife reserves.
Silvia Hachilango, the current occupant of the house where the hippo was trapped, shared her account of the incident. She recounted that residents became aware of the trapped animal after hearing a loud crash, presumably caused by the hippo’s fall into the septic tank.
Hachilango, like many others in the area, urged authorities to seek a lasting solution to the human-animal conflict. Her plea reflects the broader concern among residents who have to coexist with wildlife while ensuring the safety and well-being of both humans and animals.