Wandering hippo rescued in Grassy Park

Hippo wandering the street in Grassy Park.

Hippo wandering the street in Grassy Park.

Published Apr 15, 2024


Cape Town - A lone hippo had a squabble but has returned home.

The hippo wandered the streets of Grassy Park after escaping from an altercation with a dominant male at the Rondevlei Nature Reserve. The hippo has since returned home.

The wild animal, which tore the fence and escaped the reserve at the weekend, was first spotted in the middle of the night on Eighth Avenue, Grassy Park, on Friday.

Residents near the reserve said sight of the hippo did not surprise them as these animals usually walked around at night in the fenced off facility.

Resident Ashraff Schwartz said: “The fence is new so when it was put up, the hippos started coming closer to the neighbourhood. We would see hippos standing within the bounds of the nature reserve. On that day it was the first time that one of them came out.”

He said when the animal was cornered by the police, it ran into his yard in Rooikrans Avenue.

“My 74-year-old mom watched from inside the house, very scared, as the hippo came straight for our door, the police were standing outside the yard.

“It then turned around and ran up the road but before then, it broke my wall as it jumped over it.

“Hippos are dangerous animals and it could have killed someone.

“The nature reserve will have to put up stronger fencing for our safety.”

Spokesperson Belinda Abraham said inspector Trevor Rodney from the Cape of Good Hope SPCA Wildlife Department, attended the scene.

“The hippopotamus escaped through the fence of Rondevlei Nature reserve,” they said.

“Quemic Rangers were on the scene within minutes, at about 1am, and the hippo was herded back into the reserve in Perth Road using their vehicles.

“The fence was temporarily secured until repairs could be officially undertaken.

“Hippos are highly territorial and can become aggressive if they feel threatened or if their territory is encroached upon.

“They are also very protective of their young, which can trigger aggressive behaviour if they perceive any potential threats.

“Additionally, hippos have poor eyesight, so they may attack simply out of confusion or in response to sudden movements.

“They are responsible for more human fatalities in Africa than any other large animal.”

The Rondevlei Nature Reserve’s breached fence.

Cape Town deputy mayor and spatial planning and environment Mayco member, Eddie Andrews, said rangers from the Rondevlei section of the False Bay Nature Reserve responded to the situation.

“They notified the reserve staff and upon investigating, they discovered a hippo in the Grassy Park residential area adjacent to the reserve. The hippo was back in Rondevlei at around 2.24am.

“On investigation it was found that there was an altercation between the dominant male and the other hippo in the area and in an attempt to evade the dominant male, the hippo escaped.

“The City can confirm that the hippo is doing well, and that no incidents related to his less than an hour-long escape have been reported.”

Police said no animals or people were injured.