Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Hippos ... the Water Guardians

Hippos are quite protective of their water. They do not take kindly to us if we are anywhere near their water.

Whenever we arrive at a site, we sit and observe the water for quite a long time to figure out what critters may be hiding within the water. This day, we had a boat...so we also utilized our boat motor to help drive any animals (hippos or crocs) away from our sampling area.

After the river and banks were surveyed for wildlife that could be a threat, we all began. We had a team of fish specialists from Tanzania who were fish sampling in the Mara. We also had a hydraulics specialist from Tanzania, several specialists from the Water Resources Management Authority here in Kenya and two survey teams from Narok.

At this time, Amanda and I were downstream of a 3 person team in a boat. We were doing the macroinvertebrate sampling and the boat team was measuring the flow of the river from the boat.

Here I am with one of our assistants...using a kick net to collect macroinvertebrates from a riffle.

Here is the three person team in the boat collecting information about the velocity of the river.

A large hippo them came storming down the bank of the river from the scrub land where he was grazing. The hippo plunged into the water and started heading for the team in the boat. All three team members in the boat then jumped into the water and began pulling themselves to the other shore in an effort to get away from the hippo. I started taking these pictures just after the team jumped into the Mara.


Here are the team members pulling themselves across the Mara River with the aid of a rope. The water wasn't very deep but very rocky.


Here the hippo is plunging back into the water towards our team members.


All three members make it to shore with plenty of time to spare.


Our two armed Rangers were at the high ground...prepared to respond if the hippo continued across the Mara.


The hippo splashed about for a while near the boat and then finally walked back upstream...away from our sampling effort.

Another good day of sampling in the Mara River.
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