Memphis Zoo welcomes new hippo - Mid-South News, Weather, Traffic and Sports | FOX13

Memphis Zoo welcomes new hippo

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MEMPHIS, Tenn. (FOX13) -

The Memphis Zoo is pleased to announce the addition of a new hippopotamus. "Binti," a 15-year-old female hippo, was introduced to her new exhibit early Wednesday morning. Binti, meaning daughter, or young lady, in Swahili, is a name often used as a term of endearment.

She was put on exhibit with the Memphis Zoo's other female hippo, "Splish." Splish, 25, is part of a long line of hippos at the Zoo. She is the daughter of the beloved hippo, "Julie," who passed away earlier this year at the age of 51.

"We are excited to welcome Binti to the Memphis Zoo.  She comes to us from Disney's Animal Kingdom and seems to be a great companion for Splish," Matt Thompson, Director of Animal Programs said. "They have been getting to know each other inside, and now it's time for Binti to explore the outside exhibit." 

Visitors will be able to see Binti and Splish on exhibit daily. Both hippos will be moved to the new Zambezi River Hippo Camp when it opens in 2015. Additional hippos will be brought in to complement the group when the Zoo gets closer to opening the new exhibit.

Hippopotami are the third-largest land mammals. They can weigh up to 7,900 pounds, can be 15 feet long and five feet tall. Hippos are found in sub-Saharan Africa, and spend a large portion of their day underwater - up to 16 hours.

About the Memphis Zoo's Hippos
The Memphis Zoo is home to two adult hippopotami, Splish and Binti. Both of the girls can be found in the hippo exhibit across from the Herpetarium. The Memphis Zoo has kept hippopotami in the collection since 1914.

Binti, the newest arrival, was born at the Denver Zoo in 1998. She was transferred to Disney's Animal Kingdom before she was moved to the Memphis Zoo. Splish was born with her twin, "Splash," on Christmas Day 1988. They were the offspring of Julie and her mate, "Ubei." Splish and Splash were named by native Memphian Cybill Shepherd, and were featured on the cover of LIFE Magazine in March 1989.

Hippos have had a storied history at the Memphis Zoo. The story begins in 1914 with the arrival of "Venus" and "Adonis" - the Memphis Zoo hippo who sired 25 offspring, and propelled the Memphis Zoo to the status of "Hippo Capital of the World." Adonis lived until 1965, when he died at the age of 54. He was the world's longest living hippopotamus. The hippos originally lived in a temporary house, Galloway Hall, but a magnificent permanent home, constructed of white marble, was built in 1916.

The original Hippo House fell into disrepair, and a new brick exhibit was built in 1955. However, the current outdoor pools are part of the original exhibit built in 1916.

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