Hartbeespoort Dam’s hippo is to be relocated to a safe place to ensure the animal’s safety.

During a meeting between the North West Department of Economic Development, Environment, Conservation and Tourism (DEDECT), local estates and conservation specialists from the community on Thursday, it was decided to form a task team to capture and relocate the hippo in order to ensure the animal’s safety as well as that of residents and dam users.

During the past weeks, Harpo, as the hippo has fondly been named by the community, has become active in residential areas and his presence on public roads has nearly caused accidents.

The task team, comprising of the DEDECT, Xanadu Nature Estate, Birdwood Estate and conservation specialists, John Brooker of Glen Afric, and Tokkie Botes of Flying for Freedom, has been formed to investigate the hippo’s movement and to put a plan in place to safely capture and move the animal to a safe environment.

“The hippo has been in the Hartbeespoort Dam area for the past year and people are going to be using the dam more now that the hyacinth is disappearing. This could become a huge problem. Hippos are dangerous animals and the human factor is the big problem here,” said Johanathan Danga, DEDECT director.

The department tried to capture the hippo in December but attempts were unsuccessful. “We need an urgent solution as the dam is a big tourist attraction, and it has to happen soon” said Constant Hoogkamer of the department.

The Xanadu Nature Estate and Birdwood Estate are giving their full support to the project in order to save the hippo.

The Task team started working on a plan on Thursday to ensure the safe capture and relocation.

The community is requested to assist the team in order to keep the animal safe. People are requested to report sightings which would help the team. Contact Romano van der Spuy on 083 514 3014 or Constant Hoogkamer on 082 403 1644.

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