Hippo on the loose in Cape Town

Conservation officials in Cape Town have warned people to stay away from a hippopotamus that has been sighted in the partly-residential Zeekoevlei district, south-east of the city centre, in recent days.

The two-year-old calf wandered from the Rondevlei wetland reserve into the Strandfontein birding area, and then into nearby Zeekoevlei. Until now the hippo has failed to return home through funnels built into the Rondevlei fence and officials say they may need to tranquilise the animal before it can be moved.

In addition to its appeal not to approach the hippo, the city has asked the public not to throw anything at it, feed it or shoot it and to refrain from taking photos of the animal with a flash, which could lead to it becoming agitated. In a statement the city said “A wounded hippo may charge on sight and may very well injure or kill you or an innocent bystander.”

Anyone who spots the hippo is asked to call 213964281 during office hours, while related after-hours emergencies can be reported on tel. 0834991717.

The animal left Rondevlei after a 300m-section of fencing was stolen from the False Bay Nature Reserve. The reserve is home to six hippos – the only hippo population in the greater Cape Town area.