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Cheyenne Mountain Zoo welcomes male Nile hippopotamus

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Posted at 6:28 PM, Jul 01, 2020
and last updated 2020-07-01 20:31:05-04

COLORADO SPRINGS — Cheyenne Mountain Zoo welcomed a male Nile hippo to their Water's Edge: Africa exhibit Tuesday evening.

According to the zoo, this 17-year old hippo named Biko will join females Zambezi, 27, and Kasai, 20, when he acclimates to his new home.

Biko's keepers are instructed to follow breeding recommendations from the Association of Zoos and Aqaurims' (AZA) Nile Hippopotamus Species Survival Plan, as hippos are a species that could go extinct in the wild. He joined Cheyenne Mountain Zoo from another AZA-accredited zoo in central Florida. Once Biko completes a quarantine period in which the keepers will begin to introduce him to the two females, if all goes as planned, this will be the first time any of these three hippos can attempt to mate.

Zambezi and Kasai just returned from Dickerson Park Zoo in Springfield, Missouri on May 22. They have taken turns sharing the space and re-acclimating to their home, spending time together and some time apart. 

"They're spending more and more time together, but still seem to want time away from each other to appear totally comfortable in their new home," said Patty Wallace, senior lead keeper at Water's Edge: Africa. "With the arrival of Biko, who is smaller than the females, the dynamics could completely change."

As Biko adapts, guests will be able to enjoy three hippos, 11 African penguins, two common warthogs, 3 ring-tailed lemurs, and about 30 guinea pigs in the Water's Edge: Africa exhibit. The outdoor hippo space showcases the hippos, putting them at eye level with guests. There's also a nature trail that puts guests on a suspension bridge right over the outdoor hippo yard.