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Runaway hippo will have to be darted

Cape Town - The hippopotamus that has wandered from Rondevlei into Zeekoevlei is unlikely to be caught through “passive capture”.

It had been hoped that the hippo would return home through funnels built into the Rondevlei fence, but by Sunday it had not done so.

A hippo at large in Zeekoevlei, on the Cape Flats, will be darted and caught, the city of Cape Town said. Picture Leon Lestrade. Credit: INLSA

Over the weekend, it was spotted on the northern shore of Zeekoevlei.

Julia Wood, the city’s manager of biodiversity management, said staff had been making sure that the animal was safe, and traffic police had also assisted.

“We will work towards actively capturing him, which will involve darting the animal,” Wood said.

She said there would be further discussion on this issue.

Last week, the city said a 300m section of fencing had been stolen from the False Bay Nature Reserve in July.

It said a female hippo from Rondevlei, which had recently given birth in the small wetlands to the south of Zeekoevlei, had moved out of the fenced area into a disused pan of the Strandfontein Birding Area with her young calf.

An older calf followed the cow and joined her in the pans.

The mother and the young calf moved back into Rondevlei, but the older calf did not follow them back.

The city has asked the public not to approach the hippo, throw anything at it, feed it or shoot it and to refrain from taking photos of the animal with a flash.

The six hippos in the False Bay Nature Reserve constitute the only population of this species in the Greater Cape Town area.

Anyone who spots the hippo can call the reserve on 021 396 4281 during office hours, while related after-hours emergencies can be reported to 083 499 1717.

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