Strange Case of Mysterious White Hippos in the Southern Tanzania Forest River

Inside a large pool in which the mighty River Nyange pours its gushing waters, there are strange-coloured hippopotamuses.

The almost small lake of fresh water is found in the heart of Pindiro Kuchele Forest Reserve.

And the Pindiro Forest Reserve is located in Kilwa District of Lindi Region, in the South-eastern zone of mainland Tanzania.

The milky white hippos are already attracting many tourists in the Pindiro Kuchele Forest Reserve.

This is because, the conserved botanical precinct, managed by the Tanzania Forest Services (TFS), is the only place in the country where the albino hippos are found.

In fact, some experts swear that, there is nowhere else in East Africa where cream coated Hippos are found.

Pindiro Nature Forest Reserve (PNFR) covers an area of about 12,249 hectares.

The reserve is the largest remaining coastal forests among the nature reserves of Tanzania. 

As seen, it is the habitat for white hippopotamus, the hippos that are found only in the area in Tanzania.

So far it is believed that the hippos suffer albinism condition, but more research is needed to confirm this claim.

Pindiro Forest reserve has other numerous tourist attractions that including wildlife such as crocodiles, grants galago (Galagoides granti), the laser-pouched rat (Beamys hindei) and chequered elephant shrew (Rhynchocyon cirnei macrurus).

Others are the Nyange dam, network of riverine forests, Mbalahala hills, a traditional shrine and worshiping site as well as old German ruins.

The locals have their own mythical tale about the emergence of white hippos in the pool.

The old tale claims that, once upon a time a stranger known as Chibombo arrived in the area and shocked the entire village due to his rather strange pale skin.

Apparently, the stranger was suffering from albinism, but in those days, the locals had never seen a person like him.

They welcomed him in the fold and as soon as he got acquainted with his new home, Chibombo wanted to fish in the pool.

The villagers told him that their customs prohibited people from getting into the pool, so if Chibombo wanted to fish, he should use hooks.

At first, he complied but as days went by, he decided that there must be better catch further on in the water, so Chibombo took off his clothes and being a good swimmer, he waded into the deep water.

Apparently, the spirits got angry, and the stranger never got out of the water again.

The people in the area presumed him dead. However, after a few months a hippo with white skin emerged in the pool.

The locals then concluded that, it was Chibombo who eventually turned into the white Hippo.

The fairy tale aside the Pindiro Kuchele reserve remains a very important eco-system in southern Tanzania.

Hower despite the promising richness and diversity, the area is being threatened by emmerging human activities.

Extensive mining, agriculture, and poaching are among the listed threats by experts.

Initiatives are being made to convert the Forest Conservation Status to become Nature Reserve, but protection activities should be applied to ensure the total protection of the area.

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