A young hippopotamus who got stuck in the swimming pool of a Limpopo game lodge died on Friday morning, the lodge manager said.
The hippo, named “Solly” after one of his caregivers, died around 11am before he could be rescued, Monate Conservation Lodge manager Ruby Ferreira said.
She said Solly was acting differently on Friday morning.
“He was not as perky this morning [Friday], more agitated, like he was irritated. I think because he wanted to get out of the pool. That’s my personal opinion.”
She said there had been plans to get Solly out of the pool, but veterinarians had not arrived yet.
“We’ve been waiting for the vets and I think they were just a bit too late.”
Ferreira said hippos were sensitive creatures and Solly was no different. His stress level had probably been rising since being forced from his group, called a pod, on Tuesday, resulting in him taking shelter in the pool.
Once in the 2.4m deep pool he could not get out, likely adding to his stress.
“It all just added up and added up,” Ferreira said.
While the lodge worked to care for the animal, there was no getting away from the fact that the pool was not a natural environment for Solly.
“Although we looked after him, it was an unnatural environment for him. We are really sad at this lodge today,” Ferreira said.
“It started out as a happy story and now it’s a tragic story. It’s devastating.”
On Thursday, the National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals said a team was preparing to sedate the hippo and lift it from the pool using a crane.
Spokeswoman Isabel Wentzel said the animal would be taken to another location.
He was pushed out of the family because another baby was born. The older ones do not tolerate him anymore.”