A hippo was hit in Phalaborwa town last week Friday at President Kruger Street just in line with De Freyn Street. Surprisingly, this intersection is not far from President Steyn, where conservationists have always asked the municipality to erect speed humps as speeding motorists along that stretch of road have killed several animals in the past.
Luckily, according to reliable sources, both the driver of the vehicle and the hippo did not suffer serious injuries as the hippo was reported to have run away after the accident and has not been seen again, whilst the vehicle’s airbags were not deployed.
This is not the first time an accident between a vehicle and an animal has occurred in that area according to the Phalaborwa Natural Heritage Foundation (PNHF).
“In the past couple of years we’ve had multiple vehicle collisions with hippo and other animals. Several of these animals were killed in these accidents including a Cape Clawless Otter, African Civet, Porcupine, Genets, Baboon, Duiker, Bushbuck, Sharp’s Grysbok and many others.”
If left unchecked, according to Eugene Troskie, a director at PNHF, reckless driving will become an even greater threat to the biodiversity of Phalaborwa, and it is for this reason that the PNHF said that people should slow their driving speed down at night, especially in areas with dense vegetation next to the road.
“Certain areas have been problematic, especially the bottom of Pres Steyn, close to Spar, Hendrick van Eck, Koper Road and Spekboom Road,” said Troskie.
He said this in light of the lioness that was seen over the weekend in town and the two leopard sightings that were reported in the past two weeks. He also mentioned that the animals were not seen again since then, increasing the possibility that they have already moved through the outskirts of town.
“Don’t walk, jog or cycle early morning, late afternoon or at night in areas where the animals were spotted recently, keep pets inside at night and don’t leave children unattended,” concluded Troskie.