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Hunger looms as marauding hippos damage crops

Hippo, file photo

Residents of Kangangu village, Maragua Sub County are counting losses after several hippos from a nearby dam raided their farms destroying their crops.
The residents who rely on the dam for irrigation said about eight hippos had swept all their farms and that they did not expect to any bumber harvest this season.
The hippos have invaded several acres of farms wiping out all the crops, with residents now forced to seek for relief food from the government as intervention.
Boniface Ateya, a resident said despite raising the issue with Kenya Wildlife Service officers to have the hippos relocated, no action had been taken.
“The dam came as a relief to us to practice irrigation and we have made agriculture the bed rock of this region. However, with the emergence of the hippos, this cannot be achieved. We feel demoralized to practice agriculture again,” he said.
They too fear for their lives saying the hippos roam around freely even during the day with some residents giving hair-raising stories about their close shave with the beasts.
Peter Muhia was almost cornered by five of the hippos, before he ran for his dear life, climbed a tree where he stayed for hours waiting for help.
“I was expecting to get about Sh.100, 000 from the sale of tomatoes. The proceeds would have helped me offset school fees arrears. Unfortunately, the hippos raided the farm and completely destroyed the crop. It is a big blow despite investing much in the farm,” he says.
They fear that it is only a matter of time before one of them is mauled to death by the animal.
The residents have called on the government to provide them with relief food to sustain them since they do not expect to record any harvest.
By Muoki Charles

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