Malawi: Hippos galore as the waters retreat

Group 3 is in full swing and by now – our last group of the inaugural expedition to Malawi – we are running like a well-oiled machine.

During our hippo transects we have been counting more hippos than previously, which is most likely a result of the retreating water levels. Indeed water level has gone down significantly since the expedition started seven weeks ago. With the lower water levels, the hippos are easier to spot and during one of the transects we counted a whopping 177 of them. The large number of hippos is encouraging, since hippos are targeted for their ivory tusks by poachers.

During our time here in Vwaza we have seen poachers on our camera traps and found evidence of hippo poachers in the bush. “Hippos are harder for poachers to get than elephants, since they live in the water and are very aggressive. If a hippo gets scared or injured on land it will run into the water were poachers can’t get it” explains Lilongwe Wildlife Trust research manager Amanda Harwood.

During our day off we also visited the village of Kazuni. Following a request from the village, our participants had brought an impressive amount of supplies from home for the local school. “I sent a message out to the community I live in back in France and a lot of people chipped in donating supplies” says Sue from Ireland. Needless to say the local school was delighted by the donations, which included some footballs for PE.

Our next task is to swap SD cards in our camera traps and we are all excited to see what they have captured. Stay tuned!

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