With the unnatural large hippo population in the Kruger National Park associated with artificial waterholes, plans are underway to reduce numbers in the future. However, the need for equipment to sustainably capture them soon became evident. SANParks Honorary Rangers (SHR) of the Highveld region came on board to design and build passive capturing bomas for hippos.
Words: Lizet Kotze – SANParks Honorary Rangers Communications
Pictures: Derek Willem and Supplied
Content courtesy of SANParks Times: www.sanparkstimes.co.za
SHR project leader, Gerhard Kotze, used his experience in the truck manufacturer and vehicle body building industry and made a generous donation of steel and equipment. He also designed an impressive, one-of-a-kind capture boma.
The design of the steel boma with 3mm thick sheets was altered a few times to ensure the most efficient concept. The knowledge of the Veterinary Wildlife Services in Skukuza together with Transerve Hydraulics and Spares in Middelburg were exerted to come up with a unique design.
Steel panels were bent to form curved walls that ensure minimum restriction with no sharp corners or edges. The three-metre tall multipurpose, portable structure will be utilised to capture hippo as well as other game species.
Hippo are Africa’s most dangerous animal, but the concern for the welfare of the captured animals also enjoyed high priority. The boma will be erected near a dam or river. The animals will be enticed with lucerne and as they get accustomed to the construction, lucerne will be provided inside the boma where they will be captured.
This is a time-consuming method, but is less stressful. As soon as the animals are inside the boma, two drop gates can be activated with remote transmitters. The captured hippo can then easily be observed from the top of the three-metre high enclosure.
Donors concerned with this immense project included Bulugaya Engineering, Bodies SSS, Anchor Body, Diagonal Transport Solutions, M & P Bodies, Pretoria Engingeers, TFM Industries, Tysica Laser, VRN and Barloworld Hino Middelburg.
The equipment will ensure that Kruger’s biggest aquatic animals will soon prosper in other areas and reserves throughout South Africa.