Pretoria -Limpopo residents in villages outside Thohoyandou have reportedly hunted down a hippo, killed it and shared the meat of the animal after they have had sleepless nights with the dangerous wild animals roaming their neighbourhood.
TimesLive reported that the wild animals pose a risk to the community members, threatening the villagers and damaging their crops in the rural area.
The villagers also told the publication that they feel insecure and avoid walking at night due to the dangerous animals which encroach their area.
One of the villagers who reportedly took part in the hunt for the hippo, Azwihangwisi Tshandamule, from Makhuvha village, said the animal had been spotted in their area several times before it was killed and eaten.
“It was roaming around the village as if it was a cow,” Tshandamule told TimesLive.
Another resident said the animal was often spotted around a river.
Over the weekend, the bulky hippo with a calf was apparently seen feeding off one of the villagers’ vegetable gardens, which further infuriated the community.
After killing the hippo, the hunters reportedly pulled the herbivore out of the river and sliced the animal before sharing pieces of meat.
Speaking to IOL, Jimmy van Zyl of Hunting Safaris in Limpopo said incidents, where residents attack and eat animals, are very minimal.
He said community members are fully aware that conservationists cull troublesome animals and the meat goes to the residents. In his view, there would be no need for community members to attack the wild animals instead of reporting them to authorities.
“In very seldom circumstances, we, as the hunting community, can get the permit to take care of those animals, but the meat goes to the community. It is very, very seldom for the communities here to attack the animals. Communities know that the meat is theirs, so if there is a problem, they call the conservation authorities,” said Van Zyl.
“In law, it is illegal for community members to kill an animal like a hippo. There are laws in place, and we are a law-abiding country.
“I can tell you, regarding nature conservation in Limpopo, the Ledet (Limpopo Department of Economic Development, Environment and Tourism) is a very highly functional department. Very functional. They have got a good MEC (Rodgers Monama), and that department is running like a watch, 100 percent. With almost 200 days in office, the MEC is very good,” Van Zyl told IOL.