Authorities are still on the lookout for a hippoptamus that was initially spotted in the Chartwell area, near Fourways in Johannesburg, on December 29.

According to a reports, the Gauteng Agriculture and Rural Development Department (GDARD) said it had received an unusual call on December 29 from a member of the public who had sighted a hippo near the densely populated and plush suburb of Fourways.

In an update on the whereabouts of the stray hippo, the spokesperson for the GDARD Nozipho Hlabangana said on Thursday that the department had alerted the police and local conservation practitioners in the area, as well as a private security company which assists in wildlife matters.

Hlabangana said the department was collaborating with the mentioned stakeholders to monitor the movements of the hippo in and around the area.

Meanwhile, local residents have asked whether it could be Harpo the Hippo from Hartbeespoort Dam, who surfaced last year and has been seen on numerous occasions.

The Johannesburg Wildlife Veterinary Hospital took to social media on December 29 to confirm that they were aware of the hippo that was sighted along the river in Chartwell.

The hospital added that the GDARD had been contacted to assess the situation and that the GDARD was the official organisation required to assist and make decisions in situations such as this.

According to wildlife rehabilitation specialists, the hippo probably called the Hartbeespoort Dam home, and if it was left in peace it was likely to return of its own free will.

Conservation officials are calling on the public to remain vigilant and report the whereabouts of the animal, but urge the public not to try and approach the animal, but instead to contact the authorities immediately.

Nicci Wright from the Johannesburg Wildlife Veterinary Hospital told the African News Agency that under no circumstances must the hippo be fed, harassed or approached.

Meanwhile, social media has been abuzz with the news that 2021 is starting off with a stray hippo roaming the streets of Johannesburg, with some even taking the opportunity to name the majestic animal.

A video doing the rounds on Twitter, posted by former DA parliamentary leader, Lindiwe Mazibuko shows the hippo swimming in a backyard pool.

In the video, two men conversing in Afrikaans can be heard commenting on how big the head of the hippo is and using some profanity to address the hippo as well.

Mzansi, being Mzansi, couldn’t resist commenting on the video.