A young hippo in South Africa who wondered into a pool on an African game reserve and became stuck has died, causing an outcry of support from South Africans who became enthralled with the story.
The tragic story of the hippopotamus who found no way out of a lodges' pool started Tuesday at the Monate Conservation Lodge, which is located just north of Johannesburg.
The pool had been big enough for the hippo to swim as it was eight feet deep, but since the pool had no steps, "there's no way he [could] come out," Ruby Ferreira, manager of the lodge, told AP on Thursday.
The extraction plan was to have a game capture team sedate the hippo and then use a crane to hoist the hippo out of the pool, according to MuIsabel Wentzel of South Africa's National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals.
Before the removal of the hippo could be conducted, the pool first had to be drained in order to provide an easier time in removing the hippo, which was scheduled to take place Friday.
Wildlife rescue expert Simon Prinsloo had been pouring water on the animal with a bucket as well as using a hose to keep the animal hydrated.
The staff had also been feeding the hippo regularly and Ferreira explained that he saw the hippo noticeably relaxed since being in isolation. He did mention that the water had started to become saturated with hippo droppings.
Unfortunately, while the extraction team was waiting for a veterinarian, the hippo succumbed to its fate and passed away.
Wentzel revealed that the 4-year-old hippo's mother had recently given birth and that older, dominant males forced the young hippo from the herd. There has been an outpouring out of support for the hippo, as it had briefly grabbed the attention of South Africans as television crews continually covered the story.