A school of hippos has found a new home at Munyonyo in Kampala. The hippos have become a regular spectacle at the shores of Lake Victoria at Speke Resort, Munyonyo.
There are three hippos, an adult male, which is as big as a “commuter taxi” and a mother hippo, which is always accompanying her baby. They are often sighted in the evenings at around 6:00pm and early in the morning.
Timothy Bukumunhe, a resident of Munyonyo said that it is rare to see hippos in this part of the country, this has added value to Speke Resort Munyonyo since tourists interested in viewing hippos do not have to travel to National Parks to see them.
The local fisher men said that the animals have scared the fishing community at Munyonyo and pointed out that the hippos come out of the water to the beach.
“We have seen the hippos walking near the resort and sometimes feeding on the grass and potato vines. They often move around a large territory within the Munyonyo bay,” said by Mukasa Robert.
The hippos have been seen in the bay for more than a year. They are thought to have come from parts of Lake Victoria near Kaazi or Entebbe.
The local fisher man Mukasa said that the male hippo probably lost a territorial battle with superior males in the larger school, forcing it to migrate.
“The mother sometimes disappears, probably to link up with the larger group, leaving the male behind.
“It is now unsafe to fish because the mother is too aggressive. Whereas her baby is playful and approaches canoes, the mother swiftly intervenes to protect it,” he added.
Fishermen warn each other to vacate the lake whenever the hippos are sighted.
“The hippos also tear our nets at night,” Mukasa added.
The Director of Nature Uganda, Achilles Byaruhanga, said smaller groups of hippos have been seen at Lutembe bay and Nakiwogo in Entebbe and they hide during the day, only come out at night since are in danger of being killed by residents because they are perceived as dangerous. There fore the fishermen either avoid places where they are or kill them.
He went on to mention that the gazetted protected areas left out marine parks that are vital in tourism and protection of bio-diversity.
Two years ago, part of Lake Victoria near Munyonyo, Kaazi and around the Buvuma islands, was declared a Commonwealth reserve and marine park because of its diversity in species, but nothing has been done to protect the area.