Young False Bay hippo off to greener pastures

The young male hippo which has been moved to a new home on the Garden Route.

A young male hippopotamus was successfully captured by False Bay Nature Reserve staff during a special operation on Wednesday evening, June 28, and moved to the Garden Route Game Lodge.

The operation and execution were carefully planned over the past few months. The City’s mayoral committee member for area south, Eddie Andrews, said the two-and-a-half-year-old male hippo was secluded in a pan at the Strandfontein section of the False Bay Nature Reserve for a few months after his father forced him out of the group.

The capturing took place at 7.30pm on Wednesday evening when the hippo – with a weight of about 750kg – was caught with a passive capture technique in a sturdy wooden boma.

“A vet monitored the process and at 11.30pm the animal was transported to the privately owned Garden Route Game Lodge in accordance with a memorandum of agreement, whereby animals are translocated on loan.

“This means that should the City in future need to expand our hippo population, one of these animals will be translocated from the Garden Route Game Lodge. The hippo was released at 4.30am the following morning and City officials said he wandered around the edge of a wetland before quietly settling in among the reeds. Hopefully the young male hippo will
soon join two female hippos and form a breeding herd,” said Mr Andrews.

The young male was part of a small herd located at the False Bay Nature Reserve. The herd consists of animals that were reintroduced in 1981 or who were born here over the years. Offspring necessitates the removal of excess animals to maintain a carrying capacity
and a genetically healthy population.

Animals that are translocated are being placed to help establish other viable populations elsewhere in the Western Cape, the City says.

“Translocating hippos is important and necessary. The City ensures that the receiving environment will provide a place where the hippo can live in the wild and interact naturally. I would like to congratulate the reserve manager and personnel of the False Bay Nature Reserve for a job well done. Capturing and transporting hippo is not an easy task,” said Mr Andrews.

Hippopotamus were historically common in the Western Cape,
but were exterminated by the 1800s. Animals translocated from the False Bay Nature Reserve
population over the years have been used to establish three
other populations in the Western Cape.