One of the most popular destinations in NNP has always been ‘The Hippo Pools’, an interesting walking trail where one could usually guarantee a sighting of hippoes in their element.
In recent years however hippo sightings have become increasingly rare, perhaps because of the fact that the Empakasi River (the southern boundary of the park -where the Hippo Pools are located) has become a stream & has in some periods recently, stopped flowing altogether.
So I was quite amazed, in the last few days to count no less than 4 hippoes in the Hyena Dam, which, suffering from nutrient overload (sewage from the city) has been overgrown by waterweeds, so that a previously open body of water was completely covered.
Hooray for hippoes, they are now pushing side the weed & open water is now appearing again.
The Warden informs me that 14 hippoes were translocated into NNP in September/October from Ruai Dam in the Doonholm area of the city, which is where waste is processed, so these animals are well adapted to wallowing in, well, you know what…..
Above is a picture of a happy hippo grazing in broad daylight (these animals normally graze at night) indicating they have happily settled down in Nangolomon Dam & in Hyena Dam, where Gareth Jones, who took this picture, reports a new born calf.
This replaces the hippo that wandered through the fence to the north of the park & into a township on the edge of the city, where it was shot & eaten….
So we have at least 14 hippoes in NNP, not counting those (very few) that were already here.
Did you know that of all mammals, hippoes are reported to be the most efficient at converting grass into protein ?(themselves…) -(Jonathan Kingdon)