Posts Tagged With: hippo

THEY’RE HERE! Dallas Zoo welcomes hippos back for first time in 16 years

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Male Adhama (left) and female Boipelo (right) play hard in their pools. (Photos courtesy of L.A. Zoo and ABQ BioPark)

The Dallas Zoo welcomed a very special delivery this week: two super-sized Nile hippopotamuses arrived Tuesday and Wednesday from Albuquerque, N.M., and Los Angeles. Adhama and Boipelo are now sharing the spacious barn and pools in our new $14 million Simmons Hippo Outpost, set to open next month.

“The moves were smooth and uneventful, and our new residents have settled in nicely into their new home,” said Harrison Edell, vice president of Animal Operations and Welfare at the Dallas Zoo.

Six-year-old male Adhama arrived Tuesday morning from the Los Angeles Zoo and Botanical Gardens. The 3,722-pound hippo was loaded safely into a massive custom travel crate on an 18-wheeler Monday for the 23-hour drive. The tandem driver team drove straight through, stopping often to feed, water, and spray water on the giant amphibious animal.

Once Adhama’s travel crate was lifted off the truck and taken to the spacious new hippo barn, he wandered right out and into a sand-filled outdoor yard. Keepers met him with crisp fresh romaine lettuce and other treats. The big guy inspected every inch of the barn, room by room, before taking a snuffling drink from one of the indoor pools. Soon after, he slipped into his private pool. (The amphibious animals often choose to spend up to 16 hours a day in water.)

The driver team then hit the road again, this time to Albuquerque, N.M. At the Albuquerque Biological Park, zookeepers carefully repeated the loading process with 10-year-old, 2,395-pound female Boipelo, and the drivers took off once more for Dallas. Late Wednesday night, less than 36 hours after Adhama arrived, Boipelo made her grand entrance.

After stepping out of her travel crate, she cautiously made a few rounds of the outdoor yard, then entered the night quarters, nabbed a few bites of romaine lettuce, and immediately plunged into her pool.

Adhama was instantly interested in his new mate, leaving his pool and sniffing the air intently. The pair have been matched on a breeding recommendation through the Association of Zoos and Aquariums’ Species Survival Plan (SSP).

“Over the next 30 days while the hippos are in quarantine, our keepers, veterinary staff and nutritionists will keep a close eye on them to ensure they continue to do well,” Edell said. “For now they’re living in separate halves of the new barn, but because of its open design, they’ve already ‘met’ each other through the fences and are getting along well.”

The 2.1-acre Simmons Hippo Outpost is an immersive African waterhole habitat that includes a 24-foot by 8-foot underwater viewing area, which will allow zookeepers to teach guests about conservation efforts to help protect the world’s third-largest land mammal.

Papa, who passed away in 2001 at age of 53, was the last hippo to live at the zoo until now. At the time, Papa was the oldest Nile hippo being cared for in a U.S. zoo.

Categories: Hippo, Simmons Hippo Outpost | Tags: , | 3 Comments

Dallas Zoo begins construction on $14 million hippo habitat

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The Dallas Zoo is now beginning work on our new $14 million, 2.1-acre Simmons Hippo Outpost, an immersive African waterhole habitat that includes a giant underwater viewing area for these surprisingly hippo1 schematic FULL COLORagile, super-sized “river horses.”

A 24-foot by 8-foot underwater viewing window will bring guests eye-to-nostril with Nile hippos as they explore the 120,000-gallon waterhole. Such close contact will help us teach millions of guests about conservation efforts on behalf of the world’s third-largest land mammal.

Scheduled to open in spring 2017, the Simmons Hippo Outpost will be our first major exhibit since the award-winning Giants of the Savanna opened in 2010.

“The Simmons Hippo Outpost is a perfect bookend to Giants of the Savanna,” said Gregg Hudson, Dallas Zoo president and CEO. “It’s been 15 years since we had hippos, and our guests have consistently asked us to bring them back. We’re thrilled to be able to do so, after working on this project for several years.”

“This project is another example of why the Dallas Zoo continues to be such a great part of our hippos2 schematic FULL COLORcommunity, as well as an important and innovative piece of my Grow South initiative,” Dallas Mayor Mike Rawlings said. “The support from generous philanthropists is key to the successful public-private partnership between the City and the Zoo. This impressive exhibit is sure to bring even bigger things — and I don’t mean just our new 4,000-pound residents.”

The massive mammals –  one male and two females – will be observed from multiple vantage points. Nearby, an upper-level habitat will provide an enhanced home for our world-renowned okapi herd, red river hogs, and saddle-billed storks. Both habitats will be visible from the elevated monorail, the Wilds of Africa Adventure Safari.

Mary McDermott Cook served as the honorary chair of the Simmons Hippo Outpost campaign, which was funded solely with private donations. A $5 million grant from the Harold Simmons Foundation launched the project.

_MG_1033-4x6“Everyone loves hippos, and we’re proud to be a part of their return to the Dallas Zoo,” said Lisa Simmons, president of the Harold Simmons Foundation. “I remember how much fun it was to see them when I visited the Zoo as a child. Also, we are eager to see an outstanding new exhibit at the Zoo that will enhance the visitor’s experience and understanding of the importance of conservation of wild species and their habitats. We’re honored to support the Zoo’s ongoing commitment to excellence through this project.”

Additional generous donations include:

  • Highland Capital Management LP, $1 million: This donation will build the 4,485-square-foot Highland Capital Lodge for special educational displays and private events.
  • Diane and Hal Brierley, $1 million: The longtime philanthropists and Dallas Zoo supporters are building the Hippo Encounter underwater viewing area, where zookeepers talks also will be held.
  • Eugene McDermott Foundation, $500,000: Longtime supporters of the Dallas Zoo.

“At Highland Capital Management, we invest in the community by supporting organizations that are advancing the Dallas area in unique, influential ways,” said James Dondero, co-founder and president of Highland Capital Management, L.P. “The Zoo is exactly that kind of organization and Highland is proud to assist them in bringing exceptional educational opportunities and experiences like the upcoming exhibit to Dallas.”_MG_1014-4x6

Exclusive donor society created

The Dallas Zoo also has created a special opportunity for donors to put finishing touches on the project. Members of the Kiboko Society will receive exclusive benefits, including permanent recognition within the exhibit. Membership in the Society is a limited-time opportunity, available only until the Simmons Hippo Outpost opens in 2017.

Donor levels for the Kiboko Society are:

  • Hippo – $50,000
  • Okapi – $25,000
  • Saddle-billed Stork – $10,000
Categories: Exhibits and Experiences | Tags: , | 9 Comments

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