Fourways hippo might have returned to riverine system, says vet
There has been no sign of the hippo which caused a stir when it was spotted near Fourways in December, wildlife specialists said on Thursday.
Wildlife rehabilitation specialist and Johannesburg vet Nicci Wright said there has been no update since the hippo was last spotted in the plush Fourways, Joburg, suburb on December 29.
The Gauteng agriculture and rural development department said at the time that the animal was last spotted in Chartwell near the Jukskei river.
It's believed that the hippo originated from the Hartbeespoort Dam area and, if left in peace, it would return there voluntarily, the department said.
The hippo was moving between the Jukskei River (Chartwell, Fourways), Crocodile River and Hartbeespoort Dam (the place of origin and its habitat) on a regular basis.
Wright said there was “quite a network of little rivers” around the Fourways area, saying the hippo might have returned back into the riverine system.
“There are some dams along that riverine system in the area, so I am confident that it will be in water.
“We suspect that the hippo has been up and down that riverine system for quite a while now, so we are not worried about it finding its way back into the water. If it doesn’t, it will keep moving until it does find water.
“His behaviour would lead him back to where he originated from,” she said.
Wright said no-one had been able to get close enough to get an update on the hippo’s health condition.
She urged the public not to harass, feed or approach the animal if it was spotted.