Thursday 18 June 2015

Hippo in the High Street

I like to read BBC News on iplayer. By the time I get to watch Sky News or BBC News 24 or Al Jazeerah the headlines are already old. The story of hippos in the streets of flood-hit Georgia seemed to take a time to get aired on broadcast news. The sight of a hippo, disorientated, enjoying a fearful new-found freedom, hungry, and a survivor of his flood-damaged enclosure, seemed too memorable an image to be ignored. It did feel like an age before the flood in Georgia made it to big-time news. I believe it was when a white tiger attacked and killed a man, ripping out his throat, that the news was broadcast on TV. The tiger was shot.

More shocking is the notion that no-one knows how many beasts are dead, drowned from the flood, escaped, trapped or merely wandering - possibly injured. Animals are fierce when they are hungry and wounded. I do hope people who have survived the flood can stay safe from wolves, bears, lions and tigers who may be in their back garden while they scrabble about, trying to deal with a flooded house. The volunteers and rescuers are brave folks but everyone is unsafe until the total number of zoo animals on the loose is known and all can be accounted for.

A double-whammy to have hit the Georgian people. I find, more and more, we are lucky to live where we do. Yes the river in Bath could flood - as does our favourite watering hole - The Bathampton Mill, but I don't think we are at risk of being attacked - and likely killed - by a wild, hungry escapee from a zoo.

Let's hope the animals are rounded up very soon. I wonder what might happen if any of the female wolves, lions or tigers were pregnant when the floods hit their cages.That could lead to a whole new problem if a litter is born -  in the next days or weeks - within the city boundary. Wild big cats or wolves with their babies would create a constant source of fear and anxiety for citizens trying to come to terms with their damaged homes and shopping areas, highways and office blocks.

The image of a hippo in the High Street would be surreal if it weren't so ominous.