L.A. Zoo Says Farewell to Adhama the Hippopotamus as He Prepares to Leave for Dallas Zoo!

CONTACT: L.A. Zoo Press

March 9, 2017

Los Angeles Zoo Male Hippo Adhama by Tad Motoyama

The Los Angeles Zoo encourages guests to come visit male hippopotamus Adhama one last time before he departs for his new home in a state-of-the-art habitat at the Dallas Zoo in less than two weeks. Six-year-old Adhama arrived at the L.A. Zoo in June 2013 from the San Diego Zoo and quickly became a community favorite. He gained a companion in female hippo, Mara, in February 2014, and the pair unexpectedly gave birth to baby hippo, Rosie, later that year.

While Adhama’s time at the L.A. Zoo has been relatively short, his move to the Dallas Zoo supports our commitment to conservation. Under a recommendation from the Species Survival Plan (SSP), a program that oversees the population management of select species within Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA) member institutions, Adhama will be paired with a female hippo in the hopes that they will be a successful breeding pair.

“It has been great having Adhama here at the L.A. Zoo,” said Josh Sisk, Curator of Mammals at the Los Angeles Zoo. “He will be missed by all, but we are excited to send him off to the Dallas Zoo facility where he will be able to contribute to the sustainability of this species. We all look forward to seeing him in his new home.”

After receiving the breeding recommendation from the SSP, L.A. Zoo animal care staff began the unique process of getting the 3,730 pound animal ready for his trip to Dallas. Staff diligently trained Adhama to walk himself into his travel crate using positive reinforcement rewards such as heads of lettuce. On moving day, a crane will hoist over 6,000 pounds (crate and animal) into a semi-truck modified to include improvements such as air conditioning and a hose for drinkable water. Animal care staff will say their goodbyes and pack the semi-truck with enough food for a 24 hour journey, which is around 50 pounds of food to include hay, grain, and produce.

“It is very common for large animals like Adhama to be hauled to other zoos in large trucks because of the size and weight of their crate,” said Sisk. “Adhama came to us from the San Diego Zoo, so he already had one successful experience with traveling. Our focus for this upcoming longer trip is to ensure his safety and make him as comfortable as possible.”

Adhama will join a female hippo at the new $13.6 million, 2.1-acre Simmons Hippo Outpost exhibit which will open in Spring 2017. Adhama’s genetics are valuable, and the move to the Dallas Zoo will allow Adhama to continue his genetic line so that future generations will be able to experience hippos in zoos.

The hippopotamus, often called the River Horse, is the third largest living land mammal and are native to rivers, lakes, and swamps of sub-Saharan Africa. Males can grow up to 11 feet andweigh up to 7,000 pounds while the females are smaller, weighing up to 3,000 pounds. Hippos are grazers, preferring short grass. They require less food daily than many other hoofed animals due to their sedentary lifestyle. The hippo can remain submerged in water for five minutes at a time, closing its eyes and nostrils.

Hippos are currently listed as vulnerable by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN). The primary threats are poaching (for their ivory tusks and their meat), and loss of habitat, as more water is diverted for agriculture. Hippos live an average lifespan of 24 years in the wild and 50 years within zoos.

Guests are encouraged to visit Adhama and say goodbye to Los Angeles’ favorite male hippo before he leaves for Dallas Zoo in less than two weeks. The group – Adhama, Mara, and Rosie are currently out in their habitat daily, weather permitting.

About the Los Angeles Zoo

Accredited by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA), the landmark Los Angeles Zoo and Botanical Gardens, drawing nearly 1.8 million visitors each year, is home to a diverse collection of 1,100 animals representing 250 different species, many of which are rare or endangered. Its lush grounds on 113 acres feature a botanical collection comprising over 800 different plant species with approximately 7,000 individual plants. The Zoo is located in Griffith Park at the junction of the Ventura (134) and Golden State (5) freeways. Admission is $20 for adults and $15 for children ages 2 to 12. The Zoo is open from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily. For information, call (323) 644-4200 or visit the L.A. Zoo Web site at www.lazoo.org.