The recent sad passing of Solly the Hippo made headlines around the world.
“A young hippopotamus that has been stuck in a swimming pool at the Monate Conservation Lodge in Limpopo since Tuesday has died during a rescue attempt,…” News24
“Wildlife rescue expert Simon Prinsloo told AP the young hippo had died even though water was being poured on the animal to keep it hydrated.” BBC
“A veterinarian who was hired to tranquilise the animal arrived at the scene nearly four hours late, and couldn’t save him.” EWN
What “started out as a happy story” is now “a tragic story.”
What lessons should we take home from this incident?
Swimming Pool Safety:
Every year millions of animals die from drowning in swimming pools around the world. Children though are also very vulnerable and every year we read the sad news headlines of children that have drowned.
The death of Solly the Hippo, highlights a few very important lessons.
- Swimming pools should always have steps
“Correspondents say … the pool, … had no steps.” BBC
- There should also always be fences around swimming pools
Looking at photo’s of the incident, there seems to be no adequate fence around the pool.
Picture via: @karynmaughan
Legally ever privately owned swimming pool needs to be well fenced. SANS 1390:2005
Subsection “D4 SWIMMING POOLS AND SWIMMING BATHS
(1) The owner of any site which contains a swimming pool shall ensure that access to such swimming pool is controlled. (2) Any owner who fails to comply with the requirement of sub-regulation 1 shall be guilty of an offence.”
Sadly many swimming pools around the world fail to abide by these laws and as a result millions of innocent animal and human lives are lost. If anything, I feel the sad passing of Solly the Hippo should be used not to finger point but rather to highlight the importance of swimming pool safety and improve were we are clearly slipping up. Lets hope that Solly’s case can be used to improve swimming pool safety.