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Two-year-old boy swallowed by hippo in Uganda survives ordeal

Two year old boy swallowed by hippo in Uganda survives ordeal

A two-year-old toddler was attacked and swallowed by a hippopotamus in Uganda conservation park, before being spat out.

In a bizarre incident within the Queen Elizabeth Conservation Area, a two-year-old toddler was attacked and swallowed by a hippopotamus before being spat out. Miraculously, the child survived the ordeal.

The territorial police in Katwe-Kabatoro, in Kasese district located within the Queen Elizabeth National Park Conservation area in western Uganda registered the incident on December 11 identifying the victim as Iga Paul, who was swallowed headfirst halfway into the hippo’s gut.

The victim had been attacked on December 4, 2022, at around 3pm, while playing at their home in Rwenjubu cell, Lake Katwe – Kabatoro Town Council in Kasese District. The home is about 800 meters away from Lake Edward. This is the first such kind of incident where a hippo strayed out of the Lake Edward and attacked a young child.

According to the police report, it took the bravery of a one Chrispas Bagonza, who was nearby, to save the victim after he stoned the hippo and scared it, causing it to release the victim from its mouth. The victim was immediately rushed for treatment to a nearby clinic, for injuries on the hand and later transferred to Bwera Hospital for further treatment. He recovered fully and was discharged, after receiving a vaccine for rabies. He was, thereafter, handed over to the parents by police.

According to a neighbor,” the young boy was swallowed by a hippo in their compound. After like 5 minutes it vomited him out. The mother rushed him to the hospital thinking he was dead; there he is alive and kicking.”

A photo posted on Uganda Police Force twitter account that showed Iga wearing a pendant around his neck branded in the visage of Jesus Christ evoked one response predicting that the toddler shall grow up to be a preacher.

“The likelihood that this boy shall become a born-again Pastor is high. Ushers, assistant pastors, and church elders, we need to start positioning ourselves” read the tweet.

Comparisons have been made with the biblical Jonah who survived in a whale’s belly for three days by divine intervention, whereas little Iga Paul survived for five minutes halfway into hippo’s gut.

When asked by this ETN correspondent about Human Wildlife Conflict and what action Uganda Wildlife Authority (UWA) is taking, UWA Communications Manager Hangi Bashir had this to say: “Although the hippo was scared back into the lake, all residents near animal sanctuaries and habitats, should know that wild animals are very dangerous. Instinctually, wild animals see humans as a threat and any interaction can cause them to act strangely or aggressively. We want to remind all residents of Katwe-Kabatooro Town Council, which is located within Queen Elizabeth National Park, to remain vigilant and always alert UWA rangers, about animals that have strayed into their neighborhoods.”

When pressed on, he said:” Surely my brother, why should we even discuss whether a hippo swallowed and vomited a kid or not? We have and we continue to advise communities to keep away from animals and be more careful especially at night. One is safer Staying indoors at night especially communities neighboring protected areas and water bodies.”

Human Wildlife Conflict interventions

According to the Executive Director, UWA has over the years excavated over 500 km of trenches along selected park boundaries including Queen Elizabeth, Kibale, and Murchison Falls National Parks In order to mitigate and reduce human wildlife conflict. They are 2 meters wide by 2 meters deep trenches and are relatively effective against large mammals. More than 11,000 beehives have also been procured and distributed to different community groups. The hives have been installed along the protected area boundaries.

In 2019 in a bid to stem Human Wildlife Conflict, “Space for Giants Club” funded electric fencing stretches 10 km from  Kyambura Gorge to the Eastern boundary of Queen Elizabeth National Park in the Rubirizi district.  

Click here to read the full article on eTurboNews