Twenty two hippos have died in Malawi in two months, raising fears that the wild animals could become extinct the country.
The Department of National Parks and Wildlife (DNPW) said last week that they first noticed carcasses of hippos floating on Shire River in Liwonde on October 10 this year.
Director of Parks and Wildlife Brighton Kumchedwa said it is the first time in Malawi for a lot of hippos to die in a short period of time.
He added that the death of the hippos could have been caused by various factors such as over-stocking and low water levels.
Meanwhile, the Department of Animal Health and Livestock Development in the Ministry of Agriculture has instituted an inquiry to establish the cause of the deaths.
Deputy Director in the Department of Animal Health and Livestock Development in the Ministry of Agriculture Julius Chulu said the department has collected samples from the dead animals, the water and the environment.
“The samples are being processed at our central veterinary laboratory and it is expected that we may refer the findings to laboratories that have the capacity to handle wildlife samples,” said Chulu.
He however suspected that the deaths may have been caused by suffocation due to animals occupying limited spaces and low waters levels.