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Monday, 31 December, 2001, 19:31 GMT
Malawi hippo wreaks havoc
Hippopotamus
The hippo ran amok when it could not find its mate
By Raphael Tenthani in Blantyre

A bereaved hippopotamus has gone on the rampage in southern Malawi after wildlife officials shot and killed its partner at the weekend.


At the rate it is destroying our fields, most of us won't harvest anything

Local Chief Mkumbira
The hippo has destroyed several crop fields in Zomba district around Lake Chilwa.

Local Chief Mkumbira said the area could experience severe food shortages next year if the hippo is not killed.

The chief said the animal ran away when wildlife officers killed its partner, but ran amok when it returned and could not find its mate.

'Out of control'

Wildlife officers said in a statement they killed the first hippopotamus because it was threatening the lives of people and their crops.

"The beast ran out of control," Chief Mkumbira said.

He said several hectares of crops, especially maize, had been decimated.

"At the rate it is destroying our fields, most of us won't harvest anything," he said.

Zomba was one of 14 of the country's 27 districts that were devastated by flash floods during the last rainy season.

See also:

01 Aug 01 | Europe
Hippo attacks Ukrainian woman
16 Oct 00 | Africa
Rampaging hippos ravage river
31 Aug 99 | Sci/Tech
Hippo is whale's cousin
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