Warning over loose hippo

Wildlife authorities issued a stern warning to the public yesterday to stay away from a hippo spotted cavorting along Ballito's shorebreak.

Wildlife authorities issued a stern warning to the public yesterday to stay away from a hippo spotted cavorting along Ballito's shorebreak.

Spokesman for KwaZulu-Natal Ezemvelo Jeff Gaisford said: "A bite from a hippo is usually fatal to a human being."

The animal had been spotted in Richards Bay and other areas over the past two weeks.

Gaisford said the animal was spotted at Ballito on Tuesday but by yesterday morning had left the area and was believed to be headed north.

"We have been tracking it and we just hope it goes back to where it came from," he said.

He warned bathers and beach goers to stay far away from the hippo. "If you leave it alone, it will leave you alone because if it doesn't like you, it will attack."

Meanwhile, a leopard that attacked a tourist last week has still not been found.

The tourist had been having a braai when he was attacked at Umfolozi Game Park. He sustained bite wounds to the head but was stabilised in hospital.

"Even if we find it, it would be difficult to determine if it was the same leopard," Gaisford said.

He said there had been no leopards around the campsite since the incident. - Sapa

X