Conservationists have warned that darting the hippo spotted on a riverbank in Johannesburg’s northern suburbs, including the area of Chartwell, may prove fatal for the animal.

According to some residents, the hippo has been a regular visitor to the area for a number of years. Animal wrangler and wildlife expert, Vicky Brooker, believes it’s the same hippo, affectionately known as Harpo from Hartebeespoort Dam.

Brooker says the animal won’t harm anyone if left alone.

“It is not an option, unless you have absolute experts, to dart her, for the simple reason that in an open river like that. If you were to dart her, once the immobilising drugs start taking effect, she will go into the water. When the drug takes full effect on the hippo she will be in the water and she will drown. And it is very difficult to try and keep the hippo out of the water, it will stress her completely.”