If you are, say, an endangered pygmy hippo, are approximately three-feet high, five-feet long and weigh about 190 kilograms, space would be a priority. Keeping in mind that the natural habitat of the pygmy hippo is the forests or swamps of West Africa; dense vegetation, and a stream or a swamp would also be important for the hippo to thrive.
For years, pygmy hippos, Stoffel and Mathilda, enjoyed neither.
But then, on Friday, 19 March 2010, everything changed for the young breeding pair, thanks to hippo.co.za.
With the help of hippo.co.za and Recreation Africa, Stoffel and Mathilda were relocated from a less than desirable location to the Kedar Country Retreat which is situated approximately 20 km from Rustenburg.
At Kedar, the pair now roam free in 5 hectares of authentic land relative to the pygmy hippo’s indigenous habitat. They now have a natural dam to wallow away those hot lazy summer days, local aquatic grass and an expanse of land made up of bush, reeds and savannah grassland ideal for their night time feeding.
Witnessing their relocation was an emotional and unforgettable experience for everyone involved.
At first, Stoffel and Mathilda greeted their new home with some hesitation and trepidation. A bouquet of fresh fruit and vegetables changed all that and what followed was a sense of utter bewilderment and total relaxation.
Donna J Sheppard, a hippo specialist from the Wechiau Community Hippo Sanctuary in Ghana, West Africa recently visited the Kedar Country Hotel and had the following to say about Stoffel and Mathilda:
Due to their cryptic nature, we did not expect to spot them during our morning visit; however, we did have the opportunity to thoroughly inspect the enclosure created for the pair.
The ample wetland landscape coupled with the dense bush offer an ideal habitat for the species. Several track ways were evidenced, suggesting that the animals are comfortable in exploring their new enclosure.
This is obviously great news for their sponsors, hippo.co.za!
Amanda Thomas, general manager of www.hippo.co.za was there to see the relocation and had the following to say: “What a magical experience – one I will never forget. To know that we have played a role in bettering the lives of Stoffel and Mathilda is amazing. I have no doubt that they will thrive in their new home and, due to their new, wonderful environment, will continue the heritage of the pygmy hippo.”