The state national parks body has warned that Mvuu the Hippo, as he has been nicknamed, will be shot if he is not moved out of the storage dam by Friday.
Mvuu means hippo in Zimbabwe’s Shona language.
“Waiting for hippo to surface so he can be darted… [Mvuu] is being very elusive,” Animal and Wildlife Area Research Trust (Aware), a local veterinary conservation group, said in a post on Facebook.
“The boat has been on water for one-and-a-half hours. Every time he surfaces the huge crowd whistles. He’s feeling pressure and now not showing himself,” it added.
Authorities fear Mvuu could be a threat to Chitungwiza residents if he got into residential areas at night.
Chitungwiza has an estimated population of at least 1.5 million. Hippos are almost never seen there.
“This is technically the most difficult African mammal to move, and there is considerable risk to both the animal and the people involved in the capture,” the trust said earlier.
Aware plans to move Mvuu nearly 300km away to Kyle Recreational Park in southern Zimbabwe. It had appealed for US3000 (around R35,427) to carry out the operation.
Hippos are one of the most dangerous animals in Africa. They are most likely to come into contact with humans at night, when they leave the water and travel for miles in search of grazing.