Posted by: Loren Coleman on November 17th, 2009
Australia is called Oz. Now news is breaking that the cryptozoologically significant species, the pygmy hippopotamus, only found in Liberia and Nigeria, in Africa, has turned up in Oz.
The animal escapee theory here may be correct in this case. Nevertheless, as one of those involved said: “You don’t expect to see a hippo in the Australian bush.”
It may be the most bizarre escapee to have survived for sometime in the wild, in this case supposedly five years, if this notion is spot on.
Pygmy hippo shot in NT
Northern Territory News
Article by Alyssa Betts
November 16th, 2009
A pygmy hippopotamus has been shot dead during a pig hunting expedition in the Territory.
The hippo is normally native to the swamps of west Africa, in particular Liberia.
Instead, this one – estimated to be about 250kg – was shot while roaming the bush of the Douglas Daly, 200km south of Darwin.
This is about 16,000km away from Liberia.
It is believed the female hippo is an old escapee from Tipperary Station, from when it used to be an exotic animal reserve.
This means it has been poking about the Douglas Daly for the past five years.
Nico Courtney, 27, was out spotlighting for pigs with his mate Rusty on a station in the Douglas Daly district on Saturday night.
“It was about 1am and running away from us – from the tail end it just looked like a big pig,” the station worker said.
“We got out, had a look at it, and thought ‘that’s not a pig, it’s a hippo’.
“Then we thought ‘you don’t get hippos in Australia’.”
The pair thought it might be a baby hippo – and then naturally started wondering, as they stood in the middle of dark scrub, “where the hell” its mum and dad might be.
Mr Courtney said he rang a few mates to tell them what happened.
“They told me to go to bed,” he said. “So I thought I’d better call the boss, and he said ‘no it couldn’t be’.”
They both decided to get some shuteye and “reassess the situation in the morning”.
But it was still a hippo come daylight.
Mr Courtney’s boss, Gordon Coward, reckons the hoofer is from Tipperary Station.
“I heard all sorts of funny stories of break outs and people kept saying ‘look out for giraffes in the paddock’, but I didn’t think much of them.”
Tipperary Station – which is about 50km from Douglas Daly – was turned into an exotic wildlife sanctuary by its former owner, millionaire Warren Anderson.
Mr Anderson eventually began trying to sell the animals – which included rhinoceroses, hippopotamuses, giraffes, zebras and deer – back in 2003 after selling his interest in the station.
But some of the planned transfers were caught up in a legal wrangle between the Territory Government and Mr Anderson.
The hippo’s carcass is now being kept in a cold room at the Douglas Daly Research Farm.
Kumbe – thought to be the brother of the pygmy hippo shot at Douglas Daly on the weekend – was one of four pygmy hippos moved to Tipperary Station from the Pearl Coast Zoo at Broome in 1991.
Pygmy hippo could be tip of iceberg
The Northern Territory News, Darwin, Australia
Article by Matt Cunningham and Annie Sanson
November 17, 2009
Strange animal sightings have been commonplace in the area where a pygmy hippopotamus was shot on the weekend, locals said yesterday.
Douglas Daly residents say they have seen strange animals wandering around for years.
“We drove past there once and saw a couple of deer and about 500m away there was a thing – too big for a pig,” one resident said.
“We thought it must have been a baby buffalo that looked a bit strange, but looking back now it easily could have been the hippo, as that’s how the thing looked like – but you don’t expect to see a hippo in the Australian bush, so we didn’t worry about the ‘little weird looking buffalo’ too much.”
Nico Courtney accidentally shot the pygmy hippo after mistaking it for a wild pig while out hunting on Saturday night.
The hippo is believed to have escaped from the Tipperary Station Wildlife Sanctuary – then owned by multi-millionaire Warren Anderson – after it was closed in 2003.
Most of the animals were moved to a zoo in Queensland, but at least one was left behind.
The station’s former curator of operations Kevin Langham left the sanctuary three years before operations were wound up.
He said he was shocked the hippo had been left behind.
“It’s rather strange that they would have left it behind,” he said.
“The area they were kept in was quite small and the (hippos) were very territorial. Even it it had escaped it wouldn’t have gone very far and wouldn’t have been a very difficult animal to capture.
“The other interesting thing is, if they are out there, what else is out there?”
Former zookeeper Christine Baker said she believed the hippo was one of four that were brought to Tipperary Station from the Pearl Coast Zoo at Broome in 1991.
She said there was a breeding pair and two juveniles bought to Tipperary after the WA zoo closed down.
“This is probably the daughter, who would be 18,” she said. “I had no idea that any of the stock at Tipperary had escaped.”
But former Tipperary Station manager David Warriner, who took over after the sanctuary closed, said it was well known that a hippo had escaped. “It’s been there for years obviously,” he said.
“It escaped out of the zoo while they were shifting all the animals.
“It was just assumed that it had died, but there was one missing when they shifted all the animals.”
Mr Anderson could not be contacted yesterday.