Residents and farmers in Obongi Town Council, Obongi District, are counting their losses after a group of hippopotamuses invaded their maize gardens and destroyed other crops. The most affected areas include Yakinemiji Cell, Kenya Cell, and Arinya Cell, all in Yakinemiji Ward, Obongi Town Council, where several acres of maize have been ravaged by the hippos over the past week.

Residents report that the hippo invasion has caused panic among those whose gardens are close to the Foligo stream catchment area, a tributary of the River Nile. Stephen Angubo, one of the affected farmers, said the continued invasion by the hippos has frustrated many farmers in the area, discouraging them from engaging in farming activities. 

According to Angubo, the hippos, which usually invade the gardens at night, have also destroyed the crop garden of teachers at Obongi Primary School.

Jilda Maturu, another farmer, fears that the crop destruction by hippos could trigger famine in the area if authorities do not intervene. Maturu told Uganda Radio Network (URN) on Monday that she discovered strange footprints in her flattened maize garden when she checked it in the morning.

Samuel Mpimbaza Hashaka, the Obongi Resident District Commissioner (RDC), confirmed the incident, noting that his office has informed Uganda Wildlife Authority (UWA) officials to intervene. He further cautioned residents against attacking the hippos out of frustration.

However, UWA spokesperson Bashir Hangi could not be reached for comment.

Information obtained from the Uganda Wildlife Authority website indicates that hippos can eat up to 150 pounds (about 75 kg) of food, primarily grass, in a day. Being herbivores, they can easily strip their habitats down to bare ground.


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