Man who escaped two hippo attacks mauled to death in third incident

Man who escaped two hippo attacks mauled to death in third incident
Hippopotamus

Hassan Ssemugoma, 33, was mauled to death at the third altercation with the large aquatic mammals while out tending to his farm.

TRAGEDY | "Last month he fought with a hippo, unfortunately, this time he couldn't survive," Abdul Mbidde said sorrowfully as he reflected on the tragic karma his son had with hippopotamus.

Hassan Ssemugoma, 33, was mauled to death at the third altercation with the large aquatic mammals while out tending to his farm.

The deceased, who was from Katonto Village in Dwaniro Sub-county, Rakai District, had faced aggression from a hippo twice before, narrowly escaping with his life each time.

But it was a third time tragic on Thursday.

Locals attribute the hippo attacks to the increasing water levels in Lakes Kijjanebarola and Kachera, which have forced some wildlife from Mburo National Park to the communities.

This ecological imbalance has led to a rise in encounters between humans and wild animals in the area, endangering local communities.

Paul Ssewalu, the LC 1 chairman, recounted the harrowing aftermath of the attack, noting the desperate efforts to rush Ssemugoma to Rakai Hospital.

Subsequent referral to Masaka Regional Referral Hospital ended tragically, with Ssemugoma pronounced deceased on arrival.

Greater Masaka Police spokesman Twaha Kasirye urged restraint among locals, cautioning against provoking wild animals.

He conveyed condolences to Ssemugoma's family, emphasizing the need for collaborative efforts to mitigate further incidents.

Efforts to address the escalating crisis are underway, with police coordinating closely with Uganda Wildlife Authority (UWA) to track and manage stray wild animals.

However, challenges persist, as neighbouring communities face similar threats.

In nearby Kasimbanyiriri Village, Lwanda Subcounty, reports emerged of multiple hippo attacks, resulting in extensive damage to farms and posing a persistent danger to residents.

Umar Sseninde, the LC1 chairman, said the situation was urgent, noting the presence of three aggressive hippos threatening the community both day and night.

Sseninde called for solutions, advocating against the indiscriminate killing of the stray hippos.

As communities grapple with the aftermath of these tragic events, there is a growing call for sustainable measures to mitigate human-wildlife conflicts.

The need for proactive strategies to safeguard both lives and livelihoods remains paramount, underscoring the importance of collaborative efforts between local authorities, wildlife agencies, and affected communities.

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