Hippos Vs. Farmers in Gambia

Farmers in Gambia probably would not appreciate our Hippo Mojo website and business. They are too busy fending off real live hippos from their rice fields. But it’s not just hippos: bush pigs have also invaded and destroyed crops in at least 26 Gambian villages.

This is devastating news for rice farmers, as most depend on harvested crops to feed their families and to meet living expenses. For over two centuries, rice has been a staple food in Gambia, although much of the supply is imported.

Human population growth in Gambia has forced farmers to expand cultivated areas well into hippopotami territory. Likewise, an exploding hippo population is pushing back. Result: conflict. Luckily for the hippos, it’s illegal to kill them in Gambia. The nation’s officials are looking for a solution that will benefit everyone. Yeah, good luck with that.

This is a difficult situation and one that I fear will end badly for the hippos. When it comes to humans vs. animals, it seems the animals always lose. Recently a hippo in Niani was shot and killed by a French national who was staying in hunting camp. See the article below. No mention was made of why the hippo was shot – was it really menacing humans or crops or did the guy just feel like shooting something? I love the shot of the hippo chasing the guy down the road.

Hippo Killed In Niani

Hippo Killed In Niani

One good solution might be to try to shift the focus of the crop trampling from hippos to pigs. Certainly pigs cause more damage – after all, they ARE pigs! If we could just get the hippos to lay low for a while and incite the pigs to stick their tusks into a few farmers’ behinds, the resulting outcry of anti-pig protest would surely overshadow any petty crimes committed by hippos.

It could work.

Read more:
Gambia News: Gambia hippos destroy crops
SoS Kotu Cham on hippo invasion