A pygmy hippopotamus. A pygmy hippopotamus has been shot dead during a pig hunting expedition in the Northern Territory. A pygmy hippopotamus has been shot dead during a pig hunting expedition in the Northern Territory.Nico Courtney, 27, was out spot-lighting for pigs with mates in the Douglas Daly region on Saturday night when he accidentally shot the vulnerable African rainforest dweller.Stories about sightings of African wildlife wandering the NT outback have long been shared among locals.But it wasn't until Mr Courtney stumbled on the dead hippopotamus, after shooting what he believed to be a wild pig, that he realised the campfire yarns about free-roaming exotic animals were true."From the tail end it looked just like a big pig," Mr Courtney said."We got out and had a look at it and thought: that's not a pig, it's a hippo."Then we thought: you don't get hippos in Australia."Mr Courtney went to bed hoping to reassess the situation in the daylight, but woke to find it was, in fact, still a pygmy hippo.The station hand's boss, Gordon Coward said he suspected the animal had come from what was formerly known as Tipperary Sanctuary."I heard all sorts of funny stories of breakouts and people kept saying, 'look out for giraffes in the paddock', but I didn't think much of them," he said.If the hippo did come from the sanctuary, it has survived in the NT outback without the help of humans for several years.Tipperary Station, near Douglas Daly about 200 kilometres south of Darwin, was turned into an exotic wildlife sanctuary by its former owner.Warren Anderson, a millionaire property developer, eventually tried to sell the animals after being wrongly accused by the state government of animal cruelty in 2003.Some of the animal transfers were reportedly delayed and confused by the legal battle which ensued between Mr Anderson and the NT government in 2006.A spokesman for the Douglas Daly Research Farm, where the hippo's body was stored on Sunday in a cold room, said the Darwin Museum had expressed an interest in the animal.It was sent to the taxidermist on Monday.However, it is believed that the carcass may have been left unrefrigerated for too long and, as a result, may be unsuitable for display.The hippo, whose species is not far from being classified as extinct, is normally native to the swamps of west Africa, in Liberia.Mr Courtney told ABC Radio on Monday he would never have shot the hippo had he known what it was."It is not really a trophy or something you would brag about, it makes me feel sick," he said.AAP
Most people seem to have seen this story but I keep getting asked about it - the dopiness of live game reserves in my view.
Posted by Tony Peacock, founder of 'Feral Thoughts'