Contributing to the House adjournment debate Thurdsay Mr Lamin Jadama said: “Hippos are causing havoc and threatening the lives and livelihoods of farmers all over this country more so farmers in Central River region (CRR), closer at home farmers in Sambang in Niamina West. Recently, hippos chased women from their rice fields. The matter was reported to the chief who also reported it to the regional governor who contacted relevant stakeholders and authorities. As we have heard in the news, the authorities are doing something about it but in recent days; hippos did not only stop women from accessing their rice fields but also chased men from their early millet fields. This issue is unprecedented in the history of this country. There is need, as we all know for an equilibrium in various elements of nature – the fauna and the flora – which are all important in the overall development of our country hence some policies of government that discourage the elimination of Hippos and other animals in our bush. Therefore, I call on all stakeholders to urgently take practical measures with a view to containing this very undesirable and unhealthy situation.”
On other matters, Jadama, who is a member of the Ecowas Parliament, said agriculture is one of the most important sectors of economy. “[Consequently, all hands must be on deck to achieve Vision 2016. If we want to revolutionise agriculture, and commercialise it, we must invest in this very important sector. Government cannot do it alone, therefore, once again, I call on the private sector to focus on agriculture. We all know commercial or industrialised agriculture is definitely capital intensive and with the required capital we will achieve a lot.”
Hippos in The Gambia
According to the Department of Wildlife, hippos are the largest mammals in The Gambia. Usually at sunset, they leave the water and travel over land to graze. They can travel for six kilometers in a night along single file pathways to graze an average of 35-40 kilogrammes of grass. Considering their enormous size, a hippo’s intake is relatively low. If threatened on land, they take refuge and run for the water and they match a human’s speed for short distances.
Hippos possess short, stumpy legs, and barrel shaped bodies. They have large heads, with broad mouths, and nostrils placed at the top of the snout. Hippos are ungulate, although unlike most other such animals, they have no hooves, instead using a pad of tough connective tissue.
Their stomach has three chambers, but they are not true ruminants. While they resemble pigs physiologically, their closest living relatives are actually the whales.
The length of a hippo is about 3.3 to 5 meters; the shoulder height is 1.6 meters, weight 3-to 3.5tons. The main threats are increase in human population and increase land conservation for rice cultivation.]]>