By Omar Bah
Residents of Kudang in Niamina East have expressed concern over the continuous threat of hippopotamuses and baboons to the lives of women and rice fields in the area.
The chairman of Kudang Village Development Committee, Lamin Ceesay told The Standard that the villagers are very worried about the possible damages that could be caused by the wild animals.
Ceesay said women of the village and the surrounding areas have met to discuss the matter and called for immediate government action.
“As I speak to you right now more than half of the rice fields in Kudang have been destroyed and the most worrying of it all is the fact that hippos and baboons are posing great danger to the lives of our women.
This is a very big problem and we are calling on government and NGOs to support us”, he said.
He said women rice farmers are always attacked by baboons especially when the baboons see them carrying bowls. He said this is happening because the baboons are hungry.
“The sad thing about the whole issue is that the hippos are terrorising us but we cannot do anything.
If we kill them the government takes us to court.
Last year I was summoned to court after a hippo was killed for invading rice fields. But we are worried that we cannot continue to allow government to protect the hippos at the detriment of our people. We are paying tax and the hippos are not, for God’s sake,” he added.
He also urged the Wildlife Department to allocate grazing land for hippos if they don’t want them to be killed.
Hippos are herbivores and eat mostly plant food to fuel their large frames. Grasses and fallen fruits make up the diets of hippos.