Hippo teeth and meat are very lucrative for the poachers, and they kill the animals randomly and indiscriminately. As a result of this widespread poaching, Hippos in Virunga National Park in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), which was once home to the world’s largest hippo population, with more than 29,000 individuals in 1974, are on the verge of extinction. The conservationists are warning this. Today, there may be only about 850 hippos remaining in Virunga. But, this is not the only concern.
The fish stocks living around Lake Edward, in turn are also declining. Yes, in turn — because hippo dung provides vital nutrients for fish. The most recent survey shows there are now less than 600 left, as compared to almost 10,000 hippos that once swam in the lake. The hippo meat, in times of trouble, has become a valuable commodity, selling for 25 to 50 U.S. cents a pound (U.S. $0.55 to $1.10 a kilogram) on the black market. And hippo canine teeth often end up as part of the illegal ivory trade.