This is so very cool; hippos eating water hyacinths clogging area waterways, at the “rate of 200 to 300 pounds a day”, as reported by the California Water Blog from UC Davis.
Visitors to the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta are doing double takes lately as they encounter some newly introduced “biological controls” to keep a fast-spreading waterweed from damaging boat propellers and choking off waterways.
Working with state water officials, UC Davis scientists last month released a herd or “bloat” of hippopotamuses from Botswana to chow down on vast mats of water hyacinth that also threaten to clog the intake to the California Aqueduct near Stockton.
Elsewhere in the Delta, the researchers also planted hyacinth-loving manatees imported from Florida and giant guinea pig-like rodents from Brazil called capybaras.
The menagerie of radio-tagged herbivores is part of a yearlong experiment in more natural and, some say, more effective, controls for curbing the menacing growth of non-native aquatic weeds in the Delta….
In their native African habitat, hippos mainly eat aquatic plants, including hyacinth, which they devour at a rate of 200 to 300 pounds a day. The mammal’s affinity for the plant inspired the character “Hyacinth Hippo,” the prima ballerina from the “Dance of the Hours” sequence of Disney’s Fantasia.
Retrieved April 1, 2015 from http://californiawaterblog.com/2015/04/01/exotic-herbivores-deployed-to-mow-down-waterweeds-clogging-delta/