Hippo victim lives to tell tale

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RUNDU – A fishing trip nearly ended in tears on Sunday when a hippo rammed a canoe tossing two panic-stricken women into the river.

The hippo bumped the canoe at 17h30 and went after one woman whom it mauled with its prominent ivory canines known to easily slice through a fully-grown man into two. The latest attack involving the highly territorial semi-aquatic beast took place at Kakoro village in Musese Constituency in Kavango West where the women had gone fishing.

“Just when we had finished fishing and were about to go home, the hippo emerged out of nowhere while we were in a canoe and it rammed the canoe and we were tossed into the water where it bit me,” narrated Mariane Karungu Nzamene, who is in her late 20s.

“I only realised I was injured when we managed to escape to higher ground on the other side of the river,” narrated Nzamene from her hospital bed at the Rundu State Hospital where she is being treated for deep lacerations inflicted by the marauding river beast.

The survivor knows how close to death she was and she sang praises to the Almighty for saving her from the beast that is reputed to kill more people than any other wild animal. Members of the Namibian Police Force transported the two women to hospital after they were alerted of the attack on the Okavango River where crocodiles have in recent weeks fatally attacked several people.

Dr Yuri Yangazov of the Rundu Intermediate Hospital also said, “She is in a stable condition but she is still in the hospital for further treatment and for further observations.”

The hippopotamus kills more people every year in Africa than any other wild animal and it is a highly territorial and aggressive animal that rams boats and dug-out canoes that stray into its territory that it marks with urine and dung.

However, most of the attacks are said to take place on land and this is usually the fault of people getting between the hippo and the water. When alarmed, the hippo will run for the water, and if you are in the way, it will go straight through you. Many people also mistakenly think of it as a docile creature due to its placid appearance and approach dangerously close underestimating its speed.

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