Headline News
11 March 2024

Rustenburg – A remarkable sight unfolded on Monday morning, 4 March 2024, as motorists near the Kroondal offramp on the N4 were greeted by an unusual pedestrian – a hippopotamus.

To ensure the safety of both our community and the wandering hippo, the Department of Economic Development, Environment, Conservation, and Tourism (DEDECT) has launched an urgent search. They seek the community’s assistance in tracking the animal’s whereabouts.

Damage Causing Animal (DCA) official Vasti Botha, in an interview with Platinum Weekly, shared insights into the ongoing search. “We believe the hippo may have ventured into the Hexriver area or its vicinity. Despite following its tracks for as long as possible, we’ve reached a standstill. Given hippos’ nocturnal tendencies, we urge locals to exercise extra caution during evening and early morning hours,” Botha explained.

Residents who encounter the hippo are urged to immediately contact Vasti Botha at 083 761 7497. 

The community is strongly advised against attempting to engage with the animal directly. Recognised as one of the most aggressive and dangerous land mammals, hippos are responsible for approximately 500 fatalities annually in Africa. Their considerable size, weight, and surprisingly sharp teeth contribute to their formidable nature.

DEDECT communications director Jeremia Matebesi provided some context on the hippo’s unexpected appearance. “The origins of this particular hippo remain unclear. However, it’s not uncommon for young bulls to be expelled from their groups, prompting them to search for new territories and potential mates. Hippos are known to inhabit areas around the Elands, Hex, and Crocodile rivers,” Matebesi noted.

Echoing a stern warning, DEDECT’s deputy director of external communications, Baabua Thukubi, highlighted the gravity of the situation in a conversation with Platinum Weekly. “Hippos are responsible for the highest number of human fatalities in Africa. It is crucial to avoid any interaction with these animals, as they are highly aggressive and often lethal,” Thukubi cautioned.

As the community and authorities rally to locate and safely manage the hippo’s presence, the incident serves as a stark reminder of the unpredictable nature of wild animals and the need for vigilance in shared environments.

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