Watch Lucky Tourist Group Avoid Hippo Attack
Hippos may look like relaxed cows hanging out in the water, but do not let that impression fool you. These are very dangerous herbivores. So dangerous in fact, that every year, hundreds of people in Africa die as a result of hippo attacks. They routinely appear at the top of just about every list of the continent’s scariest animals. Despite knowing all that, a group of tourists visiting iSimangaliso Wetland Park were not deterred from sliding up to one of the beasts in an attempt to snap a selfie.
Tourists were warned
The tourists were warned to stay back by a number of staff members by apparently they ignored all requests so they could get close ups with the hippo. The hippo may well have decided to charge at any time. Fortunately for this group, the hippo did not seem to fussed and moved on without bearing its 50-centimetre teeth. Other encounters with the species have had much grislier endings. There was one occasion when a man was attacked in the early hours of the morning after almost walking into a hippo in the pitch black. The man survived the attack by lost a leg and half his stomach.
iSimangaliso Wetland Park is connected by a stretch of estuarine water directly to a 350 square-kilometre Lake St Lucia system. The area is home to a population of a minimum of 800 hippos and most locals have seen the sea cows wander through their town’s streets on many occasions. Humans tend to underestimate them because they are fat like cows and expect them to be slow as well. But before humans realise that is not the case and they are dangerous; it is usually too late.
Naïve foreign tourists
Foreign tourists are the most guilty of underestimating the species because they have never seen wild hippos. Last year a Taiwanese tourist was mauled to death in Kenya after a hippo attacked him whilst he was taking selfies with the animal at a wildlife resort. He was one of six people who died in the vicinity that year as a result of hippo attacks. The animals are fiercely territorial and will attack in order to defend their homes. Attacks tend to occur at night when hippos come out from the water to graze. Fortunately for these tourists the hippo wasn’t interested and didn’t bother.