November 19, 2012
Happy Birthday, Hannah the Hippo!
The Fund for Animals Wildlife Center celebrates its pygmy hippo's 39th birthday
by Ali Crumpacker
Pygmy hippos are a critically endangered species native to the brush of West Africa, but Hannah has never been to Africa.
She has traveled from the east coast of the United States to the west, where she has been residing for more than a decade at the Fund for Animals Wildlife Center in Ramona, California.
We are thankful to have been able to provide this lucky girl with a life free of suffering and to celebrate yet another birthday with her at the FFAWC.
Hannah's three-tier birthday cake—crafted from frozen juice and decorated with veggies donated by Garden of Eden Organics—had the nocturnal hippo munching happily well into the night.
From exotic pet prop to happy hippo
Born in a zoo on the east coast, Hannah soon found her way into the unfortunate exotic pet industry. Eventually, she ended up in the backyard of a private owner, who had neither the permits nor the proper habitat required for Hannah.
Unlike their larger cousins, pygmy hippos are solitary creatures and prefer not to share their habitat with others of their kind.
But at FFAWC, Hannah still has a lot of friends. Each day, she happily cooperates with staff for her daily care (as long as apple cookies are involved!), and she receives lots of fun enrichment toys invented by our interns and volunteers.
And this year she has, for the first time ever, permitted a mallard duck couple to share her spacious swimming pond with her.
A hippo's golden years
Pygmy hippos normally live into their early 40s. At 39 years old this month, Hannah is the second-oldest pygmy hippo in the United States.
But as she basks in adoration and a bounty of birthday treats, she's not showing her age one bit!
The Fund for Animals Wildlife Center, operated by The Humane Society of the United States in partnership with the Fund For Animals, provides care for more than 400 wild animals annually.