Jun 27 • 3194 views • 1 Comment on It’s Hip to be a Hippo • Africa, anti-poaching, Conservation, East Africa, Queen Elizabeth National Park, Travel, Uganda, Uganda Conservation Foundation, UWA, Volunteering, wildlife
During the 1970s and 1980s, severe poaching decimated wildlife numbers.
Improved park management is leading to a slow repopulation, but today killing hippos for meat remains the most frequent form of poaching. The frequency and impact of poaching is easy to see, with many of Queen Elizabeth National Park’s rivers and ‘hippo pools’ noticeably empty.
The UCF / Uganda Wildlife Authority (UWA) biannual hippo survey of Queen Elizabeth National Park involved three weeks of sometimes risky work across very difficult terrain: of uncharted swamps, fast-flowing rivers and turbulent lakes, all while on the look-out for hippo, a mammal responsible for more deaths across Africa annually than any other. (Did you know that?) The survey team noted that hippo are very wary of humans where there is illegal fishing, highlighting the fact that poachers have been killing and smuggling hippo meat via boat. On the rivers, hippo tend to congregate in safe havens such as ranger camps. Far from the camps, they are easily scared, jumping out of the river when the team approached, an indication that man is an enemy to them.
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Diary of a Muzungu follows the ups and downs of my life in Uganda, initially as a VSO volunteer with the Uganda Conservation Foundation: why I came to Uganda, culture shock, my (mis)interpretation of life around me and adventures in the bush. Uganda wouldn’t let me go! Still based in Kampala – the adventure continues