The Sunday Review
Paul Templer had the best of times.
The 28-year-old was a tour guide in Zimbabwe with an emphasis on photography safaris.
After a period of time away, he had served in the British Army. However, he returned. to Africa’s bush country “and fell back in love with it. The wildlife, the flora, the fauna, the great outdoors, the space – just everything about it. I was at home.”
Templer said Zimbabwe’s guide certification program was rigorous, and there was a lot of The guides that passed by were filled with pride. He reveled in showing tourists the area’s majestic wildlife – including the water-loving, very territorial hippos.
“It was idyllic,” He told The Sunday Review Travel in a recent interview. “Life was really, really good – until one day I had a really bad day at the office.”
The 9th of March 1996. March 9, 1996. Templer found out that a friend of his was to Lead a safari in a canoe down the Zambezi River, had malaria. He accepted to take his pal’s place. “I loved that stretch of the river. It was an area I know like the back of my hand.”
This expedition was composed of of Six safari clients (4 Air France crewmembers, a German couple and 3 apprentice guides) plus Templer. They had three canoes – clients in the first two seats and a guide in the back. They then one The apprentice guide is a oneSafety kayak for two people.
The Zambezi River was their destination. “Things were going the way they were supposed to go. Everyone was having a pretty good time.”
Finally, they found a pod of About a dozen hippos. That’s not unexpected on the Zambezi, Africa’s fourth-longest river. They weren’t alarmed at first as they were at a safe distance. But “we were getting closer, and I was trying to take evasive action. … The idea was let’s just paddle safely around the hippos.”
Templer’s canoe led the way, with the other two canoes and kayak to follow. He waited in a narrow channel for his companions. However, the third canoe fell behind the others and was on a different course. Templer’s not sure how that happened.
“Suddenly, there’s this big thud. And I see the canoe, like the back of it, catapulted up into the air. And Evans, the guide in the back of the canoe, catapulted out of the canoe.” Clients managed to Keep the canoe in some manner.
“Evans is in the water, and the current is washing Evans toward a mama hippo and her calf 150 meters [490 feet] away. … So I know I’ve got to get him out quickly. I don’t have time to drop my clients off.” He yells to Ben, one of Other guides to Retrieve the client who was in the canoe which had been attacked.
Ben Got the Clients to A rock smack in the middle of nowhere is a safe place to be. of the river that hippos couldn’t climb.
Templer changed the direction of his canoe to get Evans. It was a plan. to Pull Along of him and pull him into Templer’s canoe.
“I was paddling towards him … getting closer, and I saw this bow wave coming towards me. If you’ve ever seen any of those old movies with a torpedo coming toward a ship, it was kind of like that. I knew it was either a hippo or a really large crocodile coming at me,” “He said”
“But I also knew that if I slapped the blade of my paddle on water … that’s really loud. And the percussion underwater seems to turn the animals away,” “He said” “So I slapped the water, and as it was supposed to do, the torpedo wave stops.”
He is getting closer to Evans was getting close, but so were the other players to The female with the calf.
“I’m leaning over – it’s kind of a made-for-Hollywood movie – Evans is reaching up. … Our fingers almost touched. And then the water between us just erupted. Happened so fast I didn’t see a thing.”
It was a nightmare and surreal.
“My world went dark and strangely quiet.” Templer claimed it only took a couple of seconds to What was happening?
“From the waist down, I could feel the water. “I could feel myself wet on the river. It was completely different from my waist down. I was warm, and it wasn’t wet like the river, but it wasn’t dry either. It was like a huge pressure in my lower back. It was a struggle. to move around; I couldn’t.
“I realized I was up to my waist down a hippo’s throat.”
There’s a good reason a fully grown hippopotamus can fit a large portion of A fully-grown adult is in the mouth. Hippos can grow up to Weight up to 550 pounds for a length of 16.5 feet (5 metres), and height 5.2 feet (1,6 meters). to 4 metric tons = 4.5 tonnes according to National Geographic.
These animals have huge mouths. can open their strong jaws to 150 degrees.
The teeth of the child may be a problem. most The scary thing of all. The molars of the pigeons can be used to consume plants. their sharp caninesTheir bite is almost as big as their body. The bite of these animals is nearly three times stronger Then, there’s this of a lion. A hippo’s bite can cut the human body in two.
They’re found naturally in various parts sub-Saharan Africa, particularly in East and Southern Africa, living in or near rivers and other water sources. They are a invasive species thanks to Colombia to escapees from drug lord Pablo Escobar’s menagerie).
Hippos have a very aggressive nature and will attack any animals who invade their territory. These include hyenas crocodiles.
The Sunday Review searches for Pablo Escobar’s hippos
Also, they kill. This we can say with certainty. Many internet sources say around 500 a year, but an exact figure is still uncertain because some attacks and deaths come in very remote regions and don’t get reported.
“The question I get asked the most When people discover that I am a hippos researcher, they will: ‘Is it true hippos kill more people than any animal?’ Rebecca Lewison told The Sunday Review Travel, in an e-mail interview, that she is a conservation ecologist and associate professor from San Diego State University.
“I’m not entirely sure where that started but … there is no authority or reliable data. People are surprised that hippos kill people. They look slow, and they are mostly in water. There are some nonfatal interactions, but people (or hippos) tend to fare badly from interactions.”
Dr. Philip Muruthi Vice-President and Chief Scientist of Conservation of wildlife and scientific research of the African Wildlife Fund, said the AWF doesn’t have a credible source on the number of Attacks or deaths either.
More stats are needed to The collection of waste is a good idea. one study found The probability is that you will be able to get a job. of In the range, a hippopotamus can kill you. of 29% to 87% – higher than that of A grizzly-bear attack was at 4.8%. Shark attacks were at 22.7%. Crocodiles attacked at 25.5%.
They were not good odds of Templer is fighting for his life.
“I’m guessing I was wedged so far down its throat it must have been uncomfortable because he spat me out. So I burst to the surface, sucked a lungful of fresh air and I came face to face with Evans, the guide who I was trying to rescue. And I said, ‘We got to get out of here!’ ”
Evans had a serious problem. Templer started swimming back for him “and I was just moving in for your classic lifesaver’s hold when – WHAM! – I got hit from below. So once again, I’m up to my waist down the hippo’s throat. But this time my legs are trapped but my hands are free.”
It was a good try to go for his gun, but he was being thrashed around so much he couldn’t grab it. The hippo – which turned out to be an older, aggressive male – spat Templer out a second time.
“This time when I come to the surface I look around, there’s no sign of Evans.” Templer believed Evans was rescued and tried to rescue him. to Escape yourself
“I’m making pretty good progress and I’m swimming along there and I come up for the stroke and swimming freestyle and I look under my arm – and until my dying day I’ll remember this – there’s this hippo charging in towards me with his mouth wide open bearing in before he scores a direct hit.”
This time, Templer was The side of the roadways in the hippo’s mouth, legs dangling out one side of The mouth, shoulders, and head of the opposite side of The mouth.
“And then he just goes berserk. … When hippos are fighting, the way they fight is they try to tear apart and just destroy whatever it is they’re attacking,” Templer said.
“For me, fortunately everything was happening in slow motion. So when he’d go under water, I’d hold my breath. When we were on the surface, I would take a deep breath and I would try to hold onto tusks that were boring through me” to Stop being torn apart.
Templer said one of The clients who witnessed the terror later described it as a “vicious dog trying to rip apart a rag doll.”
He estimates that the entire attack lasted about three-and-a-half minutes.
Meanwhile, apprentice guide Mack in the safety kayak – “showing incredible bravery, risking his life to save mine – pulls his boat in inches from my face.” Templer managed to Grab the handle of your kayak and begin paddling. “Mack dragged me to the relative safety of this rock.”
This expedition is still ongoing one of It’s a mess.
People who live near the hippo habitat are at greater risk of Lewison said that tourists are more likely to be attacked than terrorists.
“Most of the attacks happen in the water, but because hippos raid crops on farms, there are also attacks on people trying to protect their crops. There are some tourists, but largely the attacks are happening to local residents,” Lewison stated.
Human encroachment from Africa’s booming population Makes things worse by increasing the chance of “Deadly interactions,” she says.
Sub-Saharan Africa relies on hippos despite the bad encounters.
“Hippos are important ecosystem engineers of the ecology of freshwater areas they inhabit. This is through nutrient recycling from dung (they consume large amounts of vegetation),” Muruthi said.
“Hippos attack not to eat people, but to get them the hell away from them,” Lewison stated. “I don’t think hippos are particularly aggressive, but I think when under pressure, they attack.”
Templer, on the Zambezi rock, asked Mack about Evans. Mack answered. “He’s gone, man, he’s just gone.”
Templer needed to know what he was doing. to Plan your strategy to They need to get off the rocks to Riverbanks are not only a riverside, but “first I needed to settle myself down.”
A man is missing. All the first-aid kit, radios and guns were missing. The first aid kit, radio and gun are all gone. one paddle left. He was also shattered.
“My left foot was especially bad; it looked as if someone had tried to beat a hole through it with a hammer.” He couldn’t move his arms. The arm was unable to move from the elbow downward. “crushed to a pulp.”
The blood was bubbling up of He opened his mouth. He was found to have a punctured lung. Mack turned Templer on his side and saw a large hole in Templer’s back. He plugged the hole with Saran Wrap that he had cut from a dinner plate. of snacks.
Templer decided to take the gamble: to Get Off That Rock
He was packed into a boat. Ben paddled. He kept bumping into the canoe. From being horrified, he became acquiescent. to Relax on your return trip.
He described “a profound spiritual experience in which I had this incredible sense of peace and realization this was my moment of choice. Like do I go, or do I stay? Do I close my eyes and drift off, or do I fight my way through this and stick around?”
“I chose to stick around, and as soon as I made that choice, it was more pain than I could ever imagine I could endure. It was so intense I thought I was going to die, and when I didn’t, I kind of wished I would.”
Ben Templer has made it through. of The river was searched, but Evans could not be found. The body of Evans was found 3 days later. They concluded he had drowned because he didn’t have any signs of Animal attack on him
“Evans did nothing wrong. The fact that he died was purely a tragedy.”
Some people had noticed something wrong on the shore. The well-trained Zimbabwean rescue team managed to save the day. to Bring everyone off safely the rock.
“And that was my bad day at the office.”
Templer has been out of The river is not flowing out of The forest.
Eight hours was required to He will drive you away to The nearest hospital. In a month’s time, he had several major surgeries. He was worried he’d lose one Leg and both arms. His surgeon didn’t think he’d live.
But not only did the surgeon save Templer’s life, he saved his legs and one arm. However, the other arm was not saved.
In the ICU he realized this when he was trying to feel for his hand. It had disappeared. “I just remember feeling devastated. I spent my whole life being active and it was almost more than I could bare.”
He was overwhelmed with relief. to He was able to save his arm and leg. The next month he spent in a wheelchair. “emotionally all over the map.”
He received occupational and physical therapy first in Zimbabwe. Then he continued in the United Kingdom. He was fitted with a new prosthesis “and then just started trying to get back to life.”
Templer, Muruthi and Lewison all say safe outings start with education – and avoiding trouble in the first place.
“Hippos have no interest in dealing with people. Stay away from them, and they will leave you alone. They are not hunting humans,” Lewison stated.
“Do not get close to them,” Muruthi said. “They don’t want any intrusion. … They’re not predators; it’s by accident if they’re injuring people.”
Get close-up shots and photos of What are the animals? Instead of If you want to avoid getting too close and see the details, get some binoculars with telephoto lense.
Stay close to the hippopaths and avoid walking on them. to your group and don’t approach them from behind, Muruthi said.
“Follow the rules. If you are a tourist, and it says ‘Stay in your vehicle,’ then stay in your vehicle. And even when you’re in your vehicle, don’t drive it right to the animal.”
Muruthi suggested that you and your party also make noise around hippos. “It’s good for them to know you’re around.”
“Hippos usually come out of water late in the evening and at night to forage, so avoid trekking along the river at that time,” Muruthi said. Be on alert, especially during dry seasons when food becomes scarce.
You can also Get to Know the Signs of Muruthi cautioned you not to approach agitated hippos. A frightened hippos. one It will yawn and open wide its mouth as an aggressive display. Watch for the head being thrown back and shaking. of Head grunting, snorting.
“These are signs you should have left already!” Muruthi said.
If you’ve attracted unwanted attention, Muruthi said to Always remember that you can’t outrun a Hippo. While they look slow, they are capable of running 30 mph. Try instead to Climb a tree, or locate an obstruction to Put something between you and the Hippo, such as an anthill or rock.
Muruthi said that you should never stand between the hippo’s water and its body. If it’s charging you, run parallel to Water source The females are also protective. animalsTempler advised: “Never put yourself between the mother and her baby hippo.”
What if you’re in a small watercraft?
“Typically, if a hippo is going to be attacking, you’ll see it coming way before. There will be that bow wave. … If you slap the water, the percussion 99.9 times out of 100 will turn the hippo,” Templer said. “If you’re in a canoe and a hippo knocks you in the water, get away from the canoe. The hippo is going for this big shape, getting it off its territory.”
It’s also safer to Muruthi suggested that you could view hippos in the water from a vessel larger than a small boat. The animal would be less likely to capsize.
Other wild attacks are different. animalsOnce an attack begins by a large hippos, the humans become almost helpless.
“Once attacked, there is nothing you can do,” Muruthi said. “Fight for dear life and watch for any chance to escape.” You could have tried, he said to Poke at your eyes, or anywhere that could cause unexpected pain. It’s not surprising that the eyes are so small. of a hippo head, even that’s a tall order.
“Hippos typically hole punch you, so there isn’t much you can do if they get hold of you,” Lewison stated.
Templer’s attack led him to say that you should not try it. to panic “when dragged underwater. Remember to suck in air if on the surface.”
A second hippo victim has been found in this National Geographic video Also, was able to Save her breath. She also grabbed the hippo’s snout, and one Experts in the video speculate that the shock of the hippo might have caused her to let go.
Templer claimed that two years after the attack he, along with a team of four people made the longest descent ever recorded. of The Zambezi River to date. The trip took 3 months to cover 1,600 miles (2 575 km).
How Templer found the resilient to Reclaim your life!
The day was rough. to He said his surgeon had told him to: “You’re the sum of your choices. You’re exactly who, what and where you choose to be in life.”
Templer said he focused on what’s possible vs. what he’s lost. “If you look for what’s possible, it generally is.”
Templer later moved to United States got married to The sister of A journalist who was on the Zambezi record-breaking trip wrote the book “What’s Left of Me”And is a public speaker.
Why should people be scared? to even go on safari – especially in hippo areas – after learning of a harrowing story like Templer’s?
Muruthi says go but do it smartly. Be sure to get advice from professional tour guides – and then follow their guidance, Muruthi said. “In Kenya, for example, contact the Kenya Professional Safari Guides Association,” “He said”
Templer claimed that his attack was an “anomaly,” and he doesn’t want anyone to What happened to him on the 1996 river race should not be taken as a warning.
“My biggest counsel would be: Absolutely go and do it. But hook yourself up with someone who knows what they’re doing out there. But by all means, go out … and experience it.”