Zimbabwe hippo deaths "may be due to pesticide"

2017-04-11 10:44


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Harare - A conservation group in Zimbabwe says the cause of the recent mysterious deaths in Kariba of around 10 hippos may have been identified as pesticide.

Local news reports have said that up to 11 hippos were found poisoned last week near Mbilizi in Binga district on Lake Kariba.

The Bhejane Trust says the hippos appear to have been poisoned accidentally by villagers spraying an insecticide on their crops.

The crops are right by the water's edge, putting them straight in line for hippos wanting to graze.

Villagers have been eating the poisoned hippos "exposing themselves to danger," the Herald newspaper said on Tuesday. The paper put the number of dead hippos at eight, and said the deaths had occurred within the space of a fortnight.

In a post to Facebook, the Bhejane Trust said the insecticide used could possibly be carbaryl, which is used to control aphids and other outdoor pests.

State media did not confirm the nature of the pesticide but quoted Environment Minister Oppah Muchinguri-Kashiri as saying villagers were using chemicals likely " to spray the worms in order to protect crops."

It is not clear if that was a reference to army worms, which have been wreaking havoc on Zimbabwe's maize and other cereal crops in the southern African region.

Investigations are continuing.

Read more on:    zimbabwe  |  southern africa

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