The Gauteng Department of Agriculture has warned residents to be on the lookout for a hippopotamus roaming the Fourways area near the Jukskei River
The department said it had received a complaint of a sighting on 29 December, and had deployed various law enforcement and conservation bodies to help locate the animal.
“To date, the hippo has not caused any damage nor posed a threat to any human or animal lives. It is believed that the hippo originates from the Hartbeespoort Dam area and that, if left in peace, will return voluntarily to the area of origin,” said the department.
Hippos are mostly herbivores, but have been known to get very aggressive. As such the department has asked members of the public not to approach or feed it if they spot it.
“Members of the public or affected communities are discouraged from feeding the animal so that it returns to its natural habitat where it came from, upstream the Crocodile River.
“Further, [the department] has mobilised awareness to members of the communities and stakeholders in the area to report any movement of the animal to the local police station or GDARD officials whose contact numbers have been given to the affected communities,” said the department.
The department said that it was exploring the option of a live capture to remove the animal from the area.
It said the animal had not been seen over the past week, “… and by implication, this suggests that, the animal has moved back to its natural habitat and thus gives GDARD the lead time to finalise the procurement of the live capture services from private operators because the department does not have the internal capture services.”