TANZANIA: STRAYED HIPPOS ‘TERRORISE’ VILLAGERS IN WESTERN REGION

Villagers in Tanzania's western district of Nkasi have been living in fear following the invasion of hippopotamuses strayed from the shores of Lake Tanganyika, authorities said.

Kanchui is one of the affected villages with hippos in the district located few kilometers from Lake Tanganyika, the world's second deepest lake after Lake Baikal in Siberia.

Richard Salezi, a resident of Kanchui village said that hippos have been roaming around the village for the past three weeks now.

He said: "People have been living in fears due to the increasing number of hippos that have been damaging our rice farms."

"As villagers, we want the animals confined within their habitat so as to give us room to continue with our farming activities uninterrupted."

"We are forced to go inside our houses as early as 5 p.m. for fear of our lives. Hippos have been storming into our homes every evening, putting our lives in danger," he stressed.

Salezi said the challenge for the villagers is that they are not allowed to kill these animals as the law is on hippos' side. "We're appealing to the responsible authorities to protect us from hippos that have so far destroyed our properties."

A local leader in the area, Asante Lubisha said that the hippos stray from the shores of Lake Tanganyika and causing destruction.

"I have informed district authorities on the new challenge, but there is no quick response," said Lubisha, who is also the Kabwe Ward Councilor.

Said Mtanda, Nkasi District Commissioner also confirmed on the hippos invasion, saying his office has already dispatched a team of wildlife experts to addressing the challenge, by ensuring that the animals are chased into their sanctuaries, without causing harm to villagers.

He urged villagers to be careful with hippos, pledging that the government will end the problem very soon.

Nkasi is one of western Tanzania's districts located on the shores of Lake Tanganyika which is shared by Burundi, Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) and Zambia.

After the elephant and rhinoceros, the common hippopotamus is the third-largest type of land mammal and the heaviest extant artiodactyl.

Source: NAM NEWS NETWORK