So much of our work to give imperiled animals the protections they deserve is a long game, and we’ve been going to the proverbial bat to preserve the hippopotamus for years. Just recently, we, along with one of our allies, sent notice of our intent to sue the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service for missing its deadline to decide whether the common hippopotamus should be protected under the U.S. Endangered Species Act. That deadline was set by a legal petition we filed, seeking federal protections for this imperiled species.

USA Today covered this key turn in our work to give hippos greater protections, and we’re grateful that the issue is gaining and sustaining attention.

Hippos are one of Africa's most recognizable species and particularly beloved by children all over the world. These animals are a keystone species, which means their behaviors help shape and maintain landscapes and habitats and promote biodiversity. But habitat loss, climate change, drought and poaching are exacerbated by the international demand for hippo parts, including teeth, skulls, ivory, skin and meat, creating a perfect storm that is driving these animals toward extinction. It is estimated that as few as 115,000 hippos remain in the wild, and even this could be an overcount, since accurate and recent population counts are severely lacking.