By Alex Jones
GRAPHIC photos capture two enormous hippos engaged in a BLOODY BATTLE for territory.
Startling shots show the two bruised colossuses embroiling in a savage fight, using their front-facing tusks to tear at each other’s blubber. The beasts – who can weigh up to 8,000 pounds each were locked in conflict for an hour before the smaller hippo admitted defeat and hastily retreated.
The brawl took place in the Okavango Delta earlier this year, as the hippos fought for territory as space in waterways – decimated by a huge drought last year – was at a premium.
The stunning shots were captured by British/South African photographer, Laura Dyer (33), who spends her time between Cape Town and Henley, Oxfordshire, on a wildlife trip in January.
“I’ve never seen a fight like that before,” admitted Dyer, who uses the Instagram handle @lauradyerphotography.
“It’s rare to see the hippos out of the water, we watched the hippos eye each other up for quite some time before the larger one came out of the water to feed on grass – keeping a wary eye on his potential rival. The second hippo was actually so pumped with testosterone, he rushed to our car before turning his attention on his foe.
“Then all hell broke loose; they fought for over an hour, snarling, bellowing and attacking each other with gaping mouths – blood was flying everywhere.
“Bizarrely they’d stop every now and again so the other could have a poo – it was quite funny to see.
“Eventually the smaller hippo realised he had no chance and kept trying to turn away, trying to escape but knowing that if he turned his back, he’d present an easy target to bite. In the end he made a run for it but the other hippo chased after him. That’s unusual but I think he wanted the fight to go to the death by that point.
“They were absolutely pacing it – it’s amazing how fast they can move. The smaller hippo got away but I wouldn’t be surprised if it lost its life, it had taken a lot of damage.
“I’ve been doing this job for a number of years and thought I’d seen pretty much everything, this was an incredible moment for me, though.”
Hippopotamuses are responsible for over 500 human deaths a year – far more than lions, tigers or bears. Despite their impressive size – measuring up to 14 foot – hippopotamuses are capable of running and swimming at speeds similar to humans. They are predominantly based in sub-Saharan Africa where their population figures are sadly dwindling.
“I love wildlife, I could spend all my time surrounded by it,” adds Dyer.
“But I’m lucky enough to travel the world and see these animals in real life, something that not everyone can do. I believe that by taking photos of animals like the hippo we can help make people care about wildlife and encourage their conservation.
“I must admit that this one gave me an adrenaline rush though, my hands never shake but they did on this occasion!”
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