A 63-year-old Limpopo woman has been killed by a hippo at a village near the Kruger National Park.

Muthavini Masungwini was crushed to death by a hippo near her home on Thursday night, after joining her daughter and other locals at around 9pm in search of a hippo that was spotted with its calf near their home earlier that evening.

“We joined a group that followed it while it was walking away from the village with its cub. It appeared harmless until it made a sound and turned and started charging,”

Tintswalo, her daughter, said that her mother fell down while running away and in no time the animal had reached her.

She said:

“While it was attacking my mother I turned back and tried to pull her away. [The hippo] left but my mother was bleeding profusely,”

Masungwini died from her wounds at the local clinic.

Busa Nxumalo, the local chief said animals from the Kruger National Park posed a constant threat to people who live in the surrounding areas and raised his concerns over the destruction of the fence that used to keep the animals away.

He said:

“There should be an environmental school where locals should be taught how to respond to animals that roam their areas,”

In 1993, the Hlanganani Forum was formed by the 28 communities bordering the park. The forum’s chairman, David Maphophe, said living adjacent to the park was not easy as animals destroy crops and kill their livestock.

Maphophe said buffalos come out of the park to graze among their cattle, and that herds of elephants and hippos destroy their crops.

He added:

“They infect the cattle with foot and mouth disease,”

Maphophe also said lions have killed and fed on many cattle in the area while brown hyenas are also a danger and that the park recently compensated 60 farmers for lost livestock.

Spokesperson for Limpopo economic development and tourism Zaid Kalla said villagers should report wild animal sightings outside of the park to authorities.