Locals of Mbita village, Kenya witnessed a child being dragged away by a hippopotamus. The large animal reportedly grabbed the child from the shore of Lake Victoria in Homa Bay County on Wednesday, September 16. While someone recorded the incident, others threw rocks and logs to scare the animal off. The animal eventually released the child. However, he succumbed to his injuries and his body was eventually recovered. The conflict between the large herbivores and humans have reportedly increased recently.
Residents of the village were gathered by the shore of Lake Victoria to wash their clothes when the incident took place. A large number of adults and children were present there. While the adults were performing their chores, the children were playing nearby. Suddenly, a hippopotamus rushed at the children and grabbed one of them.
The villagers saw the attacked but before they could reach the child, he had been dragged into the water. In an effort to save the unnamed boy, the villagers started pelting stones and logs at the animal. This instead made the animal move into deeper waters away from the shore.
A video recorded by one of the locals shows the people shouting from the shore. In the distant murky water, the animal can be seen raising its head before submerging repeatedly.
The ordeal which lasted several minutes saw the victim of the wild animal attack being tossed around. The animal also held the helpless boy under the water for some time. Eventually, the animal released the child and moved away from the area. By the time he was released, the child had been too severely injured to have survived. The body was later recovered from the lake.
According to Kenyans.co.ke, the human-animal conflict involving hippopotamuses have increased in recent times. Kenyans have called for the Kenya Wildlife Service (KWS) to take action for the safety of the people.
William Onditi, chairman of Suba South Beach Management Unit Network, pointed out that wildlife officers have guns they use to scare off the aggressive animals. The locals do not have guns to protect themselves. He has demanded that KWS deploy more officers to prevent the animals from attacking people. In places like Rachuonyo North, Suba and Mbita, the number of incidents has increased, County KWS Officer Millicent Ondudo confirmed.