By: Dawda Baldeh
Over the past few days, some people have widely criticized the killing of a hippo in the Central River Region which was handed over as a gift to President Adama Barrow in his hometown where he is enjoying his annual leave.
Anyone who grew up within that area in CRR, in one way or the other, must have experienced the damage/destruction caused by these wild animals.
I have seen activists condemning the killing of the hippo which was regarded as a “stubborn animal” that roamed around that area. I agree that killing isn’t the ultimate solution but for how long are the people in that area will continue to wait for the authorities to act and control such animals?
Inasmuch as we love and want to keep these beautiful creatures, we must remember that human lives are more important and precious to us than any other species.
These hippos have been raking havoc in that area. I grew up in a village where rice cultivation was practised but due to the rampant destruction of such animals, the villages in that area have abandoned the rice cultivation.
The hippos will eat all the rice cultivated by struggling women farmers who are trying to put food on the table for their families.
Some weeks ago, hippos attacked a cattle herd in Janjangbureh and wounded several cows leaving the owner in a desperate situation.
No environmentalists take action or condemn the killing of the cows by the hippos but now they are concerned about the killing of the hippo.
And the wildlife department was aware of this but what actions did they take? How long are the affected people or villages going to wait for the authorities to act?
If the institutions responsible for making sure these animals are protected from harming people did not act, there is no way they can stop people from protecting themselves and this includes killing the animal if they can.
We all acknowledge that it’s good to keep such animals but where they are endangering the lives of the people, they will get closer to the end of their lives too.
No animal will be preserved if they are endangering the lives of the people. Let’s be honest and ask ourselves who are we preserving the animals for?
The answer is obvious they are preserved for people and history. Some villages around the riverbanks in most instances witnessed severe destruction of property including farmlands by these wild animals.
I’m not saying killing is the best option but where it’s the only alternative to protect the people then it should be done without delay.
To the environmentalists condemning the act you are right but what actions have you taken to make sure that such animals are protected from harm and harming people?
You can’t continue condemning without putting your house in order.
The animals cannot continue threatening the lives of people and we watch them like that.
Let’s forget about the hippos for a moment and take a close look at our environment and how domestic animals are being treated.
Let’s talk about the donkeys for now. No one in this small country will say they haven’t seen how the donkeys are being treated.
But what actions are the wildlife department, and animal rights activists/advocates taking to address this problem?
You cannot condemn the killing of hippos that you have probably never seen and ignore the maltreatment of the donkey in your backyard.
This is selective advocacy, and it needs to stop for people to take you seriously. Don’t be selective when advocating animal rights.
Let the so-called activists/environmentalists allow the people in CRR to kill the stubborn hippos.
The views expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect The Fatu Network’s editorial stance.