Thursday, 24 May 2018

Hippo Poop Is Literally Suffocating Fish

By Mindy Weisberger, Senior Writer | May 17, 2018 07:40am ET

On a savanna in southwestern Kenya, thousands of hippos converge daily along a stretch of the Mara River, gathering in groups among dozens of shallow pools, where they sink into the water to protect their sensitive skin from the sun.

But they aren't there just to cool down — they also come to poop.

As the hippos wallow, they collectively expel considerable quantities of waste — an estimated 9.3 tons (8,500 kilograms) of excrement each day, scientists recently reported. Large animals' feces nourish ecosystems by providing vital nutrients for smaller organisms, but the sheer volume of hippopotamus dung poses a deadly challenge to fish that live downstream from these communal toilets, leaving the fish gasping for oxygen under a deluge of dissolved hippo poo, according to a new study. [How Much of the Ocean Is Whale Pee (and Worse)?]

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