Life here in the bush at Turgwe Hippo Trust has been interesting of late in that we now have a resident house hippo!
Steve a young male of 2 years and nine months was chased out of the family pod at the beginning of this year. This was because his mother Relief was pregnant again and gave birth in mid- March. It is very normal for young male hippo to have to leave the family when their mothers are due to give birth again. Usually they leave the area entirely as they are often chased and attacked by their mum, or by the bull, so it is safer for them to move away.
In Steve’s case he is very independent and already when I was feeding in the drought of last year he was often alone in late November and December. He has since moved into the pool in the Turgwe river which is just below our home Hippo Haven. Then much to my joy he began coming to our house at night to eat the lawn.
He then discovered that at the back door we feed two wild bush pigs called Bonny and Clyde and several subservient baboons which roost in the trees by the house and cannot get food with the main troop, as they are also bullied. So Steve has decided he is now like in Canada a “house hippo” and comes along nearly every couple of nights to eat the lawn and then appears at the back door and helps himself to food with Bonny and Clyde and the baboons. In all our years of living here which will be 30 years in October this year we have never had a permanent hippo at night at home so this is truly wonderful. He is so good and he allows me to take photos standing not more than 10 feet away from him using a flash and a torch. So this is just great.
The other news is that one of the 12 warthogs that come along for food every day, or nearly every day has arrived with part of the front of his back foot hanging off. He came home we believe for help and eventually I managed to cut off the part that was hanging and being dragged in bushes and causing him extra pain. He is walking and can run using just three legs. His fourth leg he does not yet put pressure on but he is managing well. He is even able to be cheeky with his siblings and defend himself. So we are very proud of Perky for coming to us for help and hope that he will continue to be OK out there in the bush. We feed the warthogs and bush pigs as we have a specific gang of poachers that target pigs, and so we keep them safe by feeding they then tend to live in dens within a kilometer of our home, this makes it much easier for us to keep an eye on them and less easy for the poachers to kill them.
Then more good news two more baby hippos have been at Tembia’s family. So that is three calves so far born this year. Brandy or Max depending on sex to Relief here at Hippo Haven and the two at Tembia’s family as yet unnamed but I think a male and a female. So with all the problems that have come about in 2020 there is some good news which I hope will make you smile.
Love to you all Karen and the hippos. xxx