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DISASTER AND EMERGENCIES

Ce matin, je venais d`entendre sur une radio locale, l`interview qu`un journaliste accordait a une femme rurale de Kamanyola, en territoire de Walungu, province du Sud Kivu. Cette femme agricultrice se plaignait de l`insecurite a laquelle se voit confrontee les habitants de sa contree par la presence des hypopotames. Selon cette derniere, la population ne se plus aller au champ parceque ces animaux aquatiques sortent du lac tanganika a la recherche de la nourriture dans les champs de la population situes sur le littoral. Ces animaux viennent en grand troupeaux, plus ou moins 17 hipopotames, ils attaquent les personnes rencontrees sur leurs passages. La femme a bel et bien precise qu`un jeune homme est tombe victime lorsque l`un de ces animaux avait mis bas dans son champ, celui ci a paye de l`agressivite de ces animaux.
La femme a lance un cri d`alarme pour que ces qnimqux soient tues. Cependant, cet animal faisant partie de la liste des animaux totalement proteges par la loi en RDC, notre plaidoyer va urgemment etre orientee vers des actions de refoulement, en vue de terroriser ces animaux pour qu`ils puissent continuer a rester dans leur habitat naturel , c`est a dire, dans le lac et non sur l`espace terrestre, sous peine de causer de nomreux degats, car, plusieurs perimetres de cultures sont actuellement decimmees. Cette population croupit dans une grande peur d`etre devore par ces animaux.

English translation by PulseWire member milsgra

This morning, I heard on one of the local radio stations, journalist interviewing a rural woman from Kamanyola in the Walungu territory south province Kivu. That woman who is a farmer was complaining about the fear that the people faced because of the presence of hippopotamus. According to the woman, the people are no longer able to go to their fields because these aquatic animals get out lake Tanganika to look for food in the fields located on the coast. These animals come in packs, more or less 17 hippopotamus that attack the people they meet on their path. The woman clearly stated that a young man became a victim when one of the animals ravaged his field; he was a victim of the animals’ aggressiveness. The woman raises the alarm to get those animals killed. Meanwhile this animal is on the list of endangered species and is protected by law in DRC. Our speech for the defense is going to urgently support actions to drive them back, in the aim to terrorize these animals forcing them to remain in their natural habitat, that means the lake and not any land space, fearing that they will cause numerous damages, because many perimeter of crops have been decimated. That population is crippled by the looming fear of being devoured by these animals.

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Comments

milsgra's picture

Translation

This morning, I heard on one of the local radio stations, journalist interviewing a rural woman from Kamanyola in the Walungu territory south province Kivu. That woman who is a farmer was complaining about the fear that the people faced because of the presence of hippopotamus. According to the woman, the people are no longer able to go to their fields because these aquatic animals get out lake Tanganika to look for food in the fields located on the coast. These animals come in packs, more or less 17 hippopotamus that attack the people they meet on their path. The woman clearly stated that a young man became a victim when one of the animals ravaged his field; he was a victim of the animals’ aggressiveness. The woman raises the alarm to get those animals killed. Meanwhile this animal is on the list of endangered species and is protected by law in DRC. Our speech for the defense is going to urgently support actions to drive them back, in the aim to terrorize these animals forcing them to remain in their natural habitat, that means the lake and not any land space, fearing that they will cause numerous damages, because many perimeter of crops have been decimated. That population is crippled by the looming fear of being devoured by these animals.

Anita Muhanguzi's picture

Ministry of Wildlife

Dear Madeleine, So sorry to hear this about the hippos destroying and killing people in your area. You should get the people of this area to petition the Ministry of wildlife to have these animals removed and kept in safe place like zoo or game park. This is a very serious situation because if the people see that the government is not doing anything then they might resort to killing of these animals and this will damage the toursim industry of your country. You need to start a campaign to have these animals safely relocated. Thank you for the stories and continue to keep us posted on the situation in your country. Stay blessed my sister.

Mrs. Anita Kiddu Muhanguzi
Head of Legal and Advocacy
Centre for Batwa Minorities
a.kiddu@gmail.com
cfmlegal@gmail.com
Skype: mrs_muhanguzi

Jan K Askin's picture

Unintended consequences

Dear Madeleine,

Thank you for writing this article. It is so easy, and unfortunate, that we in the world community apply our concerns about endangered species broadly. I had no idea that hippopotami threatened their human neighbors to such an extent. Sometimes when we try to fix one problem - the declining populations of hippopotami - that we create another problem.
I am glad that you brought this to my attention as it will inform my future attitudes. I will share your story with my friends and associates.
Your Sister in the United States,

Jan

Jan Askin

Heidi's picture

Finding Balance

Dear Madeleine & Jan,

I agree with your statement Jan that sometimes when we try to fix one problem we create another. Madeleine, thank you for sharing this story ... the balance of agriculture and mother nature's agenda is a delicate one. I had not heard of this problem before so I did a little scouting around to see if solutions have been offered elsewhere. I found a couple of articles that might point you in the right direction for beginning conversations about finding balance. It seems that there have been quite a few projects experimenting with solar-powered electric fencing to deter elephants and hippos.

This article talks about a similar problem with elephants destroying fields of crops and offers the solution of solar powered electric fences, suggesting that when the animals feel threatened they move elsewhere : http://gorillacd.org/2011/10/13/when-an-elephant-is-your-neighbor/

Are there accessible crops to plant surrounding the fields that would deter hippos? Solar powered flood lights? Ways to create noise to deter the animals?

This article might offer some resources as well. Perhaps it's possible to contact those involved with this project to hear about their findings: http://www.ashden.org/winners/accbnrm

Wishing you success in finding a solution that keeps your neighbors safe!
Heidi

cmphung's picture

thank you

Madeleine,

Thank you for sharing your story about the dangers of the Hippopotamus population being too close to farms. I agree with Heidi and Jan that I there is a delicate balance between nature and man. It is especially challenging in this situation as they are a protected species and so close to the farm land. I have heard that the hippos can be very dangerous. I wonder if there is a way that the Government can intervene to help the farmers. As the Hippos are destroying crops it may be worthwhile for the local community to figure out a way to scare the hippos or prevent then from encroaching on the farm land. It could be fences or it could be loud noises. I know it is difficult to move farmlands so some way to scare hippos seems like the best option.

I wish you good luck.

Charlene Phung MPH

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