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Rampaging hippos take over Adamawa River, kill two
By Iro Dan Muhammad on July 4, 2012
Rampaging herds of hippopotamuses have been terrorising farmers and fishermen along the river Benue,in Adamawa state, north eastern Nigeria, killing two fishermen.
A local official in the state capital said the marauding giant mammals are destroying fishing boats, laying waste to rice fields and attacking cattle – and threatening the livelihoods of local farmers and fishermen in the riverside areas.
Local residents say that during the week-end, two fishermen were killed by a rampaging hippo in Shelleng local government area of the state and spurred by the incessant attacks and killing local officials informed the state government which in turn directed the state department of natural resources that later engaged local hunters to assist.
There is government game reserve in shelleng, and local people say the hippos have been coming into the towns from the reserve area.
The authorities ordered that the aggressive hippos be killed, and they have introduced a ban on boats along several stretches of the Benue river where hippo herds have reached unprecedented size.
Though the state director of world wild life in the state could not be reached as he was said to have been travelled, local official in the natural resources who doesn’t want to be named a rampaging hippos that had killed two fishermen, injured a boatman and damaged rice fields have already been killed.
“There are limits, we cannot put humans in danger on the pretext of wanting to protect the animals,” said the source. Local hunters were engaged in the fight against the menace.
Alh.Babangida Ibrahim,the state deputy chairman of registered local hunters was contracted for the assignment.
The chief hunter told DailyPost that, ‘’ A rampaging hippopotamus killed two fishermen along the shores of Shelleng rive during the week-ends,’’ sparking off a wave of panic in the area, he adds.
He said the hippo raided three landing sites in one week, which has paralyzed fishing activities in the predominantly fishing villages of shelleng and other bordering communities.
The giant mammals, which can weigh up to four tonnes, have been attacking boatmen and impeding rice harvesting.
Around a dozen dugout canoes have been smashed or sunk, witnesses told Baba Ibrahim Italiya Shelleng told Daily Post.
helleng said that the herbivores are also attacking the cattle that graze along the river banks.
River banks are being protected by people armed with machetes, clubs and burning torches, but a local trader in Shelleng said the guards are unable to fend off the ravenous animals when they charge.
Hippopotamuses have canine teeth up to 50 cm (20 inches) long and can run at speeds up to 30 km/h (20 mph).
They are grazers, and eat up to 40kg (85 pounds) of vegetation per night, their favourite food being short grass.
When contacted the state police public relation officer,ASP Nemuel Yoila,said the state command is yet to get details of the hippos attacks, however assured to protect lives in the riverine areas.
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