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A woman survives hippo attack

19 May 2023

A 25-year-old woman was recently attacked and injured by a hippo while crossing Thamalakane River  recently. 

The acting regional wildlife coordinator, Ms Pelotshweu Galebotswe confirmed this in an interview on Wednesday.

She said the victim was immediately rushed to Letsholathebe Memorial Hospital while a team of wildlife officers was dispatched to search for the hippo but could not find it. She said the search was still ongoing to locate the animal so as to ensure safety of members of the community.

The victim, who comes from Gxhabara ward in Maun is currently recuperating at the hospital as she sustained serious injuries on the hip, chest and a broken arm.

Narrating her ordeal, the victim, Ms Shirley Nthusang who said she was  happy to be alive explained that she  met her fate on the morning of May 12, while trying to cross the drying river to  side to attend a funeral.

"There was a lot of movement of people including school going children along the river and those at the front spotted the big animal in an open space coming towards them but it just passed as the children who were shouting for help, she explained.

Minutes later, she said the hippo returned charging towards her direction and all people ran for their rescue, unfortunately Ms Nthusang said she fell down and the hippo clamped down on her right arm.

“I survived by a whisker because initially, it aimed to grab my head but I distracted it with my arm which it clamped as I remain helplessly under the heavy animal. Fortunately, some school going children came and tried to provoke it with noise until it loosened up and let go of me,” said Ms Nthusang.

She said those  who witnessed the incident called an ambulance and also reported the matter to Department of Wildlife and National Parks.

Meanwhile, Okavango Human Wildlife Conflict Foundation (OHWCF) director, Mr Kenosi Kamina visited the victim and advised her to get necessary documents so that she could be registered in the database.

The goal of the foundation is to reduce negative human wildlife interaction impacts on people who reside within conflict areas, promote conservation as well as support victims with permanent injuries as a result of human wildlife interaction.

Mr Kamina said currently, they had registered more than 30 victims in the Ngamiland district only noting that majority were still traumatised. He said the foundation was planning to engage experts to provide victims with psychosocial support and counselling so that they could accept their situations. BOPA


Source : BOPA

Author : Esther Mmolai

Location : MAUN

Event : Interview

Date : 19 May 2023