Common Hippopotamus

Common Hippopotamus

Hippopotamus are a fascinating animal. Large, highly aggressive, and spending most of their days in water. For many people, their memory of a Hippopotamus on safari (or in a zoo) is a pond with a grey bump in the middle. But there is far more to a hippopotamus than meets the eyes. Duromg the night, Hippo leave the safety of the water and go into the bush to graze.

They are incredibly dangerous, and there is a far higher risk for people wandering in the bush to be killed by hippo than anything else. In the past, they were one of the few species that still lived in significant numbers outside reserves. Unfortunately, as the human population of Africa has grown, the majority of these free roaming Hippo have been killed – for an African living on a tiny income, a hippo is a huge pile of meat, which can be sold, and some of its teeth are made of ivory.

A rough estimate suggests that the meat is worth around 8000. When you add in the Ivory teeth, it is possible for a Hippo carcass to be worth a years average salary (and that is the mean salary). 85% of Africans survive on $5.50 per day, which works out at almost exactly $2000 – so for 85% of Africans, a hippo carcass is worth 4 years of salary – assuming that you do not make much money from the ivory, and it would not be surprising if this added significantly.

When you look at these numbers, it is not surprising that people poach Hippos -and it makes it very hard to work out how to save them.

Of course, Hippo can be worth far more in tourism dollars over their lifespan.

Common hippopotamus are possible to see in all the Savannahs that we have listed so far. Visit wild places to see the total list.

Below is links to some of the biggest (though as I say, hippo can often be seen in small reserves and in places outside reserves as well. All our savannah wild places have sizable populations of common hippopotamus.

Pygmy Hippopotamus

Dwarf Hippopotamus

The dwarf hippopotamus was a little known species until more recently. However, the pygmy Hippopotamus is far more endangered, with an estimated population of just 2000-2500, compared to 115,000-130,000 common Hippopotamus remaining in the wild.

Now, of course, this comparison is foolish. While the current common hippopotamus is pretty much exclusively restricted to reserves, this is still a large area.

The vast majority – in both numbers and percentage – of the world’s remaining pygmy hippos are found in Liberia, although smaller populations still survive across the border in Côte d’Ivoire, Guinea and Sierra Leone. Furthermore, being a rainforest species, as the rainforest is cut down the animal looses its home (those which have not already been poached.

It is in the same genus as the common hippo, and they are clearly each others closest relation. I hope eventually to be able to list places for you to see this secretive animal, and give people a reason to protect it – if you work with an area like this, please do click on our link “list your wild place” we are eager to help people find you.

See Animals Wild