Cincinnati Zoo’s hippos get along swimmingly

CINCINNATI, Oh. (WTVQ/Press Release) – The new hippo on the block at the Cincinnati Zoo & Botanical Garden, 18-year-old male Tucker, made two new friends today! The other hippos, world-famous Fiona and her mom Bibi, got to share the same pool with him today, and all showed the behaviors that the care team wanted to see.

“We planned to just let Tucker explore the outdoor habitat today and were going to introduce him to Bibi tomorrow and Fiona on Wednesday,” said Cincinnati Zoo’s director of animal care Christina Gorsuch.  “But, Tucker seemed immediately at home in the outdoor pool and the girls were vocalizing from inside to express interest.  So, we followed their lead and put all three out together.”

The hippo team has been observing interactions all day and are pleased with how it’s going.  The habitat was closed to the public for the introductions, but it will reopen if things continue to go well.  That could be later today, tomorrow, or the next day.  Updates will be posted on CincinnatiZoo.org and on the Zoo’s social channels.

Tucker came to Cincinnati from San Francisco earlier this month and has been acclimating to his new environment since then.

“The Association of Zoos and Aquariums’ Hippo Species Survival Plan (SSP) recommended that Tucker move to Cincinnati to be Bibi’s companion and to enjoy being part of a hippo pod. If a baby is in their future, it will be way down the road before that happens” said Gorsuch. “For now, all three hippos seem to have made a positive social connection.”

While not considered endangered, Nile hippos share ecosystems with many critically endangered species including elephants and rhinos. As an indicator species, the hippos’ plight can provide information about the challenges being faced by other species in their native lands. Addressing issues at the ecosystem level helps the other species living in the same regions.

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