Skip to comments.US Woman Survives Hippo Attack on Safari in Zimbabwe
Posted on 12/06/2018 11:35:03 AM PST by Simon Green
About 500 people are killed in hippopotamus attacks each year. On Saturday, Kristen Yaldor was almost one of them.
The 37-year-old American woman was on a river safari tour with her husband, Ryan, when she was suddenly attacked by a hippo that was said to be protecting her calf.
The couple was on a guided canoe safari on Zimbabwes Zambezi River. Led by tour operator Wild Horizons, the safari group had three guests and two guides. While canoeing down the river, one of the guides spotted the hippo on the rivers right bank. He reportedly instructed the group to paddle to the left side of the river to avoid the hippo, an animal known for its aggression, especially during calving season.
As the Yaldors paddled to the other side, a hippo appeared under their canoe and flipped it over, Wild Horizons told ABC News. The hippo pulled Kristen Yaldor beneath the water as she was trying to swim to the riverbank. Meanwhile, Ryan Yaldor, who was thrown from the canoe toward the riverbank, swam to the shore in less than 30 seconds. He turned around and called for his wife, and she emerged from the water with her leg inside the hippos mouth.
Kristen Yaldor punched the hippo in the face several times, and it finally released her. She was able to swim to the shore, where her husband helped her out of the water and the head guide reportedly administered first aid. She was airlifted to a clinic in Zimbabwe about 45 minutes later.
From the clinic, she was transferred to a hospital in Johannesburg, an ordeal that took 14 hours after the initial attack. The pressure of the hippos clenched teeth caused a ragged fracture in Kristen Yaldors right femur. She has already received two surgeries to repair the broken bone and remove dead tissue, and she might possibly need further operations.
The attack happened on Kristen Yaldors 37th birthday. The couple told ABC that they were never warned it was calving season for hippos, which might make them more aggressive.
Wild Horizons, which has operated tours in the Victoria Falls region of Zimbabwe for nearly 30 years, told ABC it has strict safety protocols, including a pre-safari safety briefing and instructions on how to properly paddle and steer the canoe. Backup vehicles also follow the canoes down the river, the tour company said, and guides are provided cell phones and handheld radios for emergencies.
The Yaldors say the guides couldnt reach anyone for help on the radios, and their cell phones did not work from the location on the river bank, causing a delay in medical assistance.
TPG reached out to Wild Horizons for more information but did not receive a response by time of publication.
In its statement to ABC, the tour company said it takes every safety precaution possible on its safaris. We would like to stress that while our guides are expertly trained and qualified to manage trips such as these, and that every preparation is painstakingly made, the company said. Nature is unpredictable.
Sh*t happens, even more so in Third World Countries.
Her big concern may possibly be the blood transfusions. Hope she does OK.
Cell phone service? Having traveled in some pretty remote parts of Tanzania,Kenya and Zambia the last thing I’d expect in such regions is a damn cell phone signal.
I notice they had no armed security to guard against hippo or other animal attacks.
The tourists were not allowed to be armed to defend themselves.
Hippos are very dangerous.
This one might have been to protect a calf. Then again, it may have been purely territorial. Lots of those.
Most of the attacks are at night, when the hippos are foraging on land, and a person gets between them and the water.
500 people killed a year by hippos makes the total of bear, mountain lion, and dog attacks in the United States look quite small.
When did this happen? I thought Hillary was in the U.S. the past few days.
What caliber is needed to take down a hippo? Anything less than .50 would probably be useless.
She’s lucky. Hippos can be downright deadly when they get pissed off.
Hmm. Does she no longer want a hippopotamus for Christmas?
When you splish-splash, almost take a bath in a wild animal’s back yard, be prepared to deal with their hostility.
They don’t want us people there in the first place, and will let you know it.
Many people may not know this here, but the world is changing. As someone who travels all over for PE investment opportunities (been to every continent apart from Australia and Antarctica), many would be surprised how things have changed. When I was in high school Dubai was a joke, now it looks like something out of Star Wars. Beijing was once known for rice and bicycles, now it is a really advanced (though polluted ...everyone was coughing phlegm) metropolis.
The picture below is of the Upper Hill area of Nairobi, Kenya. It did not exist just ten years ago.
It does not take an elephant rifle to take down hippos, but they are big, tough animals. You want something with a lot of penetration.
Most would say a .375 H&H or above. The .375 is the minimum legal caliber to hunt hippos in South Africa.
Lots of hippos have been taken down with .308/.30-06/.303 loads or less.
If I were hunting hippos, I would likely opt for a .375.
...with that said, the only animal Id be more afraid of than a hippo is a mix between a rebel with an AK-47 and a cornered Black Mamba ...
When my father and I went on a photo safari in Kruger National Park in South Africa a few years ago, not a single one of the guides was allowed to own a firearm, let alone their guests. I later had an extended conversation with one of the guides about the political situation in South Africa, wherein he described his futile multi year attempt to get a permit to own any sort of firearm, and also told of his wife being attacked in a home invasion and being helpless against the intruders (thankfully, she wasnt seriously harmed). He wasnt optimistic in the least about the future of South Africa.
He was very envious when I described how easily I was able to purchase firearms in the United States.
This sort of goes by the rules of skiing and baseball games. There is a risk that you understand when you hop into a canoe. And when you hop into that canoe in Africa. You could have seen hippos in a local zoo. You could have seen hippos from a range rover. But this lady wanted to see hippos from a canoe in a third world country. The assumed risk she was taken was pretty darned high. And she went very far out of her way to take it.
I do feel for her. Many left unscathed from the very same adventure. But if there was no risk, it would not be called an adventure.
2nd most dangerous animal in Africa.
Can you guess the first?
Not experience, but reading non-fiction of African hunting for 45 years. Most of the stuff about hippos is from Capstick, as I recall.
Water conducts sound extremely well. A supersonic projectile hitting the water sends out quite an intense wave of sound.
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