Zoo officials hope hippo love is in the air

Inocencio, a 2-year-old male pygmy hippo, made his public debut in the Tropical Forest at Franklin Park Zoo.

Wendy Maeda/Globe staff

Inocencio, a 2-year-old male pygmy hippo, made his public debut in the Tropical Forest at Franklin Park Zoo.

He is a young male, new in town.

And he is looking for love.


At least, that is what officials at the Franklin Park Zoo in Dorchester are hoping will come true about a rare pygmy hippopotamus named Inocencio, who made his public debut Wednesday afternoon.

In December, Inocencio, who recently turned 2, was brought to Boston from Chile to cozy up with Cleopatra, the zoo’s female pygmy hippo, zoo officials said.

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The breed is endangered. Only 61 are known to be in North America, and most of them are female.

That is why Inocencio was a crucial find, said zoo officials.

Zookeepers gave Inocencio just over a month in quarantine after his arrival at the zoo before he was introduced to the public. The 300-pound hippo was born and raised at the Parque Zoológico Buin Zoo in Chile.


On Wednesday he was moved to the zoo’s tropical forest exhibit, where the zoo has story times this month at 11:30 a.m. and an information table at 1:30 p.m.

Inocencio has not yet been introduced to his new mate, but zoo officials hope the two will hit it off.

Jacqueline Tempera can be reached at jacqueline.tempera
. Follow her on twitter @jacktemp.
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