The hippopotamus is the third largest terrestrial animal. With a weight approaching 3.5 tonnes for mighty males and an appearance of very little grace, this animal is good at hiding its true nature. In fact, it is extremely agile under water, while on the ground it can reach top speeds of 40kmph. Linked with heightened aggression, these abilities make the hippopotamus one of the most murderous animals in Africa.
Animals considered by biologists to be umbrella species are extremely important in their own ecosystems. This term signifies that many species are directly dependent upon the lifestyle of such animals. By grazing during the night on the shoreline banks to then defecate in the water, they ensure the important link between the food supplies of terra firma and the aquatic environments. Without them, fish cannot feed, thus causing a shortage of food for the numerous predators dependent on fish, humans included.
Even though their population may be considered as stable, the hippopotamus is subject to growing threats. Global warming, as well as the creation of barrages, dries out the watering holes vital to these giants. Furthermore, their teeth are made of ivory, whose price on the black market is still very high.