A pygmy hippopotamus has been shot dead during a pig hunting expedition in the Northern Territory.
Nico Courtney, 27, was out spot-lighting for pigs with mates in the Douglas Daly region on Saturday night when he accidentally shot the vulnerable African rainforest dweller.
Pigs with mates? Why only shoot pigs with mates? Is it like some sort of a two-for-one deal?
What if you see a pig with no mates? Is he safe? Because if he is and the pigs get wise to this, then there’s going to be a whole lot more single pigs around and that does not bode well for the continuation of the species.
But then again, neither does you shooting them, I guess.
Stories about sightings of African wildlife wandering the NT outback have long been shared amongst locals.
But it wasn’t until Mr Courtney stumbled on the dead hippopotamus, after shooting what he believed to be a wild pig, that he realised the campfire yarns about free-ranging exotic animals were true.
Now, I realise that this was a pygmy hippopotamus and therefore rather small and also that it was dark out there in the bush. But stumbling on an animal that you’ve just shot dead is just plain clumsy. It’s not like it’s going anywhere. It’s dead. It’s lying right where you shot it. Just look where you’re putting your feet in future.
“From the tail end it looked just like a big pig,” Mr Courtney told News Limited.
“We got out and had a look at it and thought: that’s not a pig, it’s a hippo.”
OK, well done – although I think we’ve now established that your eyesight really isn’t great.
“Then we thought: you don’t get hippos in Australia.”
That’s actually a damn good point. You don’t get hippos in Australia.
And you’re in Australia. Therefore, it can’t be a hippo. I’m loving your logic.
But how on earth can you make it not be a hippo anymore?
I know – maybe try going to bed and let the effects of the evening’s festivities wear off:
Mr Courtney went to bed hoping to reassess the situation in the daylight, but woke to find it was, in fact, still a pigmy hippo.
Well, there’s a huge shock. No magical porcine transformation as you rested.
Sure, evolution has a lot to answer for as far as the pygmy hippopotamus is concerned. It certainly looks like it has some catching up to do. But it’s not going to evolve into a pig overnight.
Especially when you’ve already misidentified it by looking at its arse, shot it, tripped over it and then gone to bed in the hope that it will make some miraculous species jump.
A spokesman for the Douglas Daly Research Farm, where the hippo’s body was stored on Sunday in a cold room, told AAP the Darwin Museum had expressed an interest in the animal. It was sent to the taxidermist on Monday.
However, it is understood that the carcass may have been left un-refrigerated for too long and, as a result, may be unsuitable for display.
Given that it’s just been shot dead, I think a lack of refrigeration would be the least of its worries.
Mr Courtney told ABC Radio on Monday he would never have shot the hippo had he known what it was.
“It is not really a trophy or something you would brag about, it makes me feel sick,” he said.
Your buddies all go out and shoot some boring old pigs and you bag a virtually extinct pygmy hippo and that’s not some kind of trophy? Are you really telling me that being known in every bar in Douglas Daly as “that bloke that shot the hippo” makes you feel sick?
That’s free beer for life, right there. You’re a hero, mate. Live the dream.