Hippo Facts/ GVZoo’s Hazina the Hippo!

Did you know that even though Hippos spend a ton of time in the water, they can’t actually swim or float? They propel themselves quickly by holding their breath and pushing off of the ground or items in the water. Hippos also use the buoyancy increasing properties of water to relieve the massive pressure on their joints on land. Here is a wild mother Hippo grooming her calf. 


GVZoo’s Hippotamus Hazina was brought to GVZoo as a baby in 2004, and was cast in a Telus Christmas Commercial. Unfortunately, she was also the reason the Zoo was charged with cruelty in 2006. Forced to endure 19 months in an enclosure that amounted to an inadequately sized pool inside of a shed, the cruelty charges were stayed after the zoo responded to pressure to make a proper enclosure. The zoo had been stripped of their accreditation 6 months previous to acquiring her, and had no completed enclosure in place. Here she is pictured in a concrete floored enclosure. The zoo reluctantly added rubber flooring at the SPCA’s urging as they rushed her final enclosure. 


Unfortunately, Hippos at Vancouver Zoo haven’t fared well. Their two previous hippos died about halfway through their regular lifespan.

GVZoo was also the site of a tragic accident involving hippos in 1983, where two hippos were given access to a frozen pond fell through thin ice and drowned.

The Rothschild Giraffe/GVZoo’s Giraffe problem.

The Rothschild Giraffe is one of the most endangered and largest Giraffes in the world. Some are as tall as 20 feet and can weigh up to 2500 pounds. Rothschild Giraffes are most recognized for their distinct pattern that differs from other species. In the wild, they live up to 30 years old.  Look at this beautiful group of Rothschild Giraffes in the wild. 


In 2006, GVZoo had a baby Giraffe die at just over a week old. Some speculated that the lack of a feeding paddock for what was a senior mother (23 years old) to nurse a baby at should have been installed to prevent this death.  At GVZoo in 2011, Eleah and Amryn, a mother/daughter duo of Giraffes died within a week  of each other. Another giraffe named Jafari died at the age of 12 from a degenerative brain disease in 2011. Giraffe have noted challenges with captivity in general including mortality due to cold stress, and a host of maladies associated with improper diets in captive care, including neurological damage. For an overview that includes links to more REAL Giraffe facts, check out this great link. 

Giraffe in enclosure, GVZoo. Plywood and brick.