A wayward hippo that escaped from the Tala Private Game Reserve had to be euthanised on Wednesday night.
Management commissioned microlight spotters to track the animal‚ which had broken away from its group at the weekend.
It is understood that the hippo was spotted in a dam near the Beaumont Eston Farmers’ Club‚ which lies adjacent to the park.
The juvenile male appeared to have taken refuge in the water‚ as rangers kept a close watch on his movements.
Tala’s general manager Greg Allan said that they were forced to make the “difficult decision” when the hippo left the water and approached a populated area.
“Our men had been watching the animal and during the night he moved from the dam and started moving towards some houses nearby‚” he said.
“When the hippo started getting close to the houses some dogs started barking and it spooked him so he started to run. It was then that we had to make a difficult choice.” Allan said that the safety of people and property was paramount.
“There was one of two ways this could go and this is sadly what happened.” He said the hippo is thought to have had a fight with the dominant male in the group and he was then pushed out of the park.
“He was pushed toward the fence line and then broke through.”
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