Activist says hippo’s landfill burial best way

2008-07-16 00:00

KwaZulu-Natal’s wandering hippo, Nonkululeko, now lies buried at the bottom of a Verulam dump.

After she was shot and killed by members of the eThekwini Natural Resources Department and wildlife officials on Monday night, her body was hoisted on to a bulldozer and dumped at the Durban Solid Waste landfill site near Verulam.

But Animal Rights Africa spokesman Steve Smit said that while what happened to the hippo was a tragedy, he was relieved the animal was not hacked up for food.

Smit said the carcass could have been dumped in the sea or fed to lions at the Lion Park, but the best option was to bury her.

Due to her size, it would have been difficult to dig a big enough hole to bury her, so the landfill was the best choice.

He said many people were upset about the dumping of the hippo, but he believes the disposal was handled in the appropriate way.

He is happy the hippo was not stuffed and put into a museum as a “curiosity piece”.

Smit said the killing of the hippo was “horrific” and his organisation will take further action against Ezemvelo KZN Wildlife with a public inquiry into the decision to shoot the animal.

Smit said the matter should be publicly debated and discussed as the public are entitled to the truth.

He said the results of the postmortem on Ben Dlamini, who was allegedly killed by the hippo, should also be made public.

Many people believe the hippo could have been saved if the authorities had acted sooner.

The National Council of SPCAs spokeswoman, Christine Kuch, said it is difficult to say how the carcass should have been disposed of as they have never dealt with a dead hippo.

“We believe that there should be sensitivity, even though the animal is dead. It should be treated with the utmost respect,” she said.

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