Avatar photo

By Brian Sokutu

Senior Print Journalist

Hippo attack trio don’t have ‘life-threatening’ injuries

A hippo attacked Biodiversity Social Project members in Kruger Park, emphasising the dangers of wildlife encounters.

The reeds were dense and the bush thick when a hippo ventured outside the Sabie River of the Kruger National Park (KNP) and charged at an unsuspecting team of the Biodiversity Social Project.

KNP spokesperson Ike Phaahla yesterday described the incident in which three employees were injured in Monday’s hippo attack while they were clearing alien plants along the riverbank.

ALSO READ: Hippo attack along Sabie River leaves three injured

“Our team only noticed the animal when it ventured out of the river, charging at them.

“The group was accompanied by two armed field guards who fired shots at the animal, which had already injured the three before it fled back to the river,” he said.

“The three were stabilised by a Skukuza doctor who transferred them to a nearby hospital for further treatment and observation.

“The injuries have been described as serious, but not life-threatening,” he said.

Phaahla said there were “possibilities for wild animals to attack workers, but it is not often because the supervisors are always careful”.

ALSO READ: On a wing and a prayer: Kruger Park under fire for bat house ‘evictions’

“It is not a frequent occurrence. We lost a colleague to a hippo attack early in the year.

“Colleagues are always advised to be extra vigilant, hence they are always accompanied by experienced, armed field rangers,” he said.

Phaahla described the hippo as “a dangerous animal and the biggest killer of humans on the continent”.

“They do not aim to kill, but are trying to get to their safety area, which is water.

“Hippos will attack to try and get to the water,” he said.

Read more on these topics

hippo Kruger National Park (KNP) SANParks

For more news your way

Download our app and read this and other great stories on the move. Available for Android and iOS.