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. 

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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. 

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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.