In a tragic turn of events,two hippos in the Limpopo River have been killed after they attacked a Zimbabwean national, who was believed to be crossing illegally into South Africa. The so-called “border jumper” also passed away at a nearby hospital while receiving treatment for his severe injuries
It’s understood that this is the fourth person to be killed by hippos in this region. The Limpopo River separates South Africa from Zimbabwe, and a number of desperate migrants have tried to make the treacherous crossing. The last person killed in this fashion, according to The Chronicle, was a Zimbabwean Defence Force (ZDF) soldier.
Limpopo hippos killed while attacking “border-jumper”
In a statement, the Municipality of Beitbridge confirmed the attack which occurred last Friday, confirming that both animals have since been gunned down.
“Two hippos were gunned down in Limpopo River (after) having injured an individual suspected to be a border jumper in the early hours of Friday. The injured individual is said to have passed on later at the Beitbridge District Hospital.
This is the fourth such incident in the border town this year alone. As the Municipality of Beitbridge, we are really concerned about the loss of life as we continue to face this human-wildlife conflict, ”
Municipality of Beitbridge
The victim’s name has not been released to the public. But his death – and the subsequent shooting of the hippos – raises a terrible moral dilemma. Indeed, the man should not have been making such a reckless and illegal journey, but border guards did what they thought was right to try and save another human life – even if he was the one encroaching in their habitat.
Trouble on the river
This particular stretch of the Limpopo River has had a notorious time in the headlines recently, too. A 63-year-old South African woman was killed in the province after she followed a hippo and its offspring to get a closer look. Feeling threatened, the semi-aquatic mammal fatally attacked the pensioner.
The Municipality of Beitbridge have reiterated calls for locals to avoid crossing the border by any illegal means, and warned them against travelling through any undesignated entry points.
Two hippos were gunned down in Limpopo River (after) having injured an individual suspected to be a border jumper in the early hours of Friday. The injured individual is said to have passed on later at the Beitbridge District Hospital. This is the fourth such incident this year.
— News Only Zim (@NewsOnlyZim1) October 27, 2019
This article was first published by The South African on 29 October 2019.
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