A game ranger on patrol at Mkhuze Game Reserve, northern Zululand in KZN, was tragically trampled and killed by a hippo on Sunday morning.
Sphamandla Mthembu (31) was charged by the hippo, which also bit him, at around 06:30 in the Zigoga area of the reserve.
Mthembu was on duty with colleagues at the time, patrolling the area when the hippo aggressively confronted him and his crew near the Mkhuze river.
A witness said Mthembu fired shots at the hippo, as did the other rangers, but the animal continued its rampage until Mthembu was killed.
Mthembu reportedly sustained nine open wounds, and the hippo succumbed to its bullet wounds.
Mkhuze SAPS has opened an inquest docket.
Safety around hippos
Known as the animals that kill the most number of people annually, the hippo is highly dangerous and fast on its feet.
To put it into perspective, a hippo can run up to 30km/h whereas a human can run a maximum of 13km/h.
It must be noted that a hippo can become particularly aggressive when a human gets between it and the water, particularly in the early morning.
This is because hippos exit the water at dusk and spend the night grazing, before returning to the water at dawn.
Anything that gets between a hippo and the water into which it wants to retreat is perceived as a threat, and its defensiveness causes aggressive behaviour.
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