What was once the world's largest hippopotamus herd has declined by 95 per cent, the World Wide Fund for Nature said yesterday.
Only 1,300 hippos remain in Virunga National Park, a world heritage site on the eastern border of the Democratic Republic of Congo. Three decades ago there were 29,000, shows a census by WWF and local conservation charities.
Poachers are killing them for their meat and teeth to meet international demand. "This is disastrous," said Dr Susan Liberman, a WWF director. "Unless poaching is stopped, hippos will be threatened with extinction."
Hippo dung is an essential element of the fish-food chain, and as hippo numbers fall, catches have dwindled, affecting the livelihoods and health of local people.Reuse content