Rumours have surfaced that the North West Department of Economic Development, Environment and Tourism (DEDECT) has issued a permit for the hippo in Hartbeespoort Dam to be shot.
Kormorant was told by reliable sources that the police have already been informed of the permit. Harpo, as the hippo is fondly known by die Hartbeespoort community, surfaced in the Hartbeespoort Dam in May 2019 and has since been spotted regularly in most areas around the the dam. Numerous attemts have been made to catch and release the lonesome hippo, but have not been successful. Kormorant has sent numerous enquiries to the department, requesting DEDECT to confirm that a permit to shoot and kill the animal has been issued. On Tuesday night, spokesperson for the department, Mashudu Nemutandani, told Kormorant that the matter is still being investigated and a “formal communication” will be released as soon as a solution is found. In January 2020 the department said that “this could become a huge problem. Hippos are dangerous animals and the human factor is the big problem here.” During a meeting in Hartbeespoort at the time, the department said it had tried to capture the hippo in December 2019 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. During the year-and-a-half that Harpo has been in the dam, the majority of residents have become protective of the animal, and he/she even has a Facebook page!