Solly, the young hippopotamus that stumbled into the swimming pool of a game lodge in South Africa four days ago, has died before he could be rescued.
As Digital Journal reported yesterday, Solly the hippo, was chased away from its herd and wandered to a nearby game reserve where he decided to cool down in the swimming pool on Tuesday. Unfortunately he wasn't able to get out so the plan was to sedate him today and use a crane to lift him out.
IOL News says the young hippo had a one-in-three chance of dying from the tranquilizer. If not enough water was drained from the pool and he was shot with the tranquilizer dart, he could have drowned. There is also the risk that if the rescue took too long he could become distressed or overheated.
But IOL News quotes the lodge manger saying, “the vet took too long to arrive and this animal was stressed to death.”
The vet apparently arrived later than expected when he had to go to a nearby farm to help with the difficult birth of a sable antelope.
Lodge manager Ruby Ferreira tells News24 Solly was acting differently in his final hours, "He was not as perky this morning [Friday], more agitated, like he was irritated. I think because he wanted to get out of the pool. That's my personal opinion."
IOL News reports that just before 11am Solly lifted his head above the water and took his final breath. But for several minutes, those taking part in the rescue weren't sure whether he was still alive. It was only when the vet arrived and jumped in the pool and there was no reaction that they all realized it was too late. The vet placed a harness around the animal and his body was lifted out of the pool.
Later veterinarian Alex Lewis told IOL News that the hippo was already in poor condition and hadn't been eating properly for a while. “He has been stressed for a long time… and stressed animals die.”
A postmortem will be done on Solly but it's believed he died of a heart attack. His remains will then be fed to predators.
Solly had quite a few fans after a Twitter account was set up in his name. It has since been modified as Ghost ModimolleHippo.