The Franklin Park Zoo asked for a hippo this Christmas, and Santa delivered.
A young pygmy hippo arrived as a gift from the Parque Zoologico Buin Zoo in Chile, arriving in the United States early Friday morning, the Franklin Park Zoo announced today.
The male hippo was flown to the John F. Kennedy International Airport in New York, where his paperwork and general health were inspected, the zoo said in a statement.
The hippo, named Inocencio, will turn 2 years old Saturday and weighs 293 pounds, the zoo said.
Inocencio was born in Chile and, once fully grown, could weigh 600 pounds, the zoo said. He is fully settled in the zoo’s tropical forest exhibit, but will be quarantined from the public and other animals for a month, the zoo said.
Loss of habitat and poaching have led the pygmy hippo species to endangerment, the zoo is hoping Inocencio will breed with a female pygmy hippo named Cleopatra.
“Inocencio is crucial to the effort to create a self-sustaining population,” the zoo said.
Pygmy hippos are native to West Africa. They are solitary creatures, active primarily at nighttime, the zoo said. The number of pygmy hippos in the world today is currently unknown.