Hippo excrement triggering fish kills in African rivers

May 16 (UPI) — Hippo excrement is being blamed for fish mortality in Kenya’s Mara River.

According to a new survey of the hippo population and river health in the Maasai Mara National Reserve, the mammals excrete 9.3 tons of waste into the Mara River each day.

Researchers suggest the massive influx of waste can trigger fish kills as the half-digested plant material decomposes and robs sizable swaths of the river of oxygen. As microbes break down the excrement, ammonium and sulfide are produced — toxins harmful to fish and other aquatic life.

At night, hippos graze in the savanna. During the heat of the afternoon, they lounge in the river.

“During dry periods, oxygen-poor water accumulates in hippo pools,” Emma Rosi, a freshwater ecologist at the Cary Institute of Ecosystem Studies, said in…

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