Louisville Zoo gets female pygmy hippo

June 2, 2011 at 12:00 PM

LOUISVILLE, Ky., June 2 (UPI) -- A female hippopotamus complete with a breeding recommendation arrived at a Kentucky zoo -- but the zoo has no formal breeding plans yet, officials said.

The breeding papers for Hope, a 600-pound, 16-year-old pygmy hippopotamus who came to the Louisville Zoo from an Oklahoma City zoo, are from the Species Survival Plan of the American Association of Zoos and Aquariums, The (Louisville) Courier-Journal reported Thursday.

Hope will share the Gorilla Forest habitat of Maji Kitoto, the zoo's 17-year-old male pygmy hippo, the newspaper said.

Hope and Maji will alternate being on exhibit, said Steven Wing, the zoo's general animal curator.

Hope "is an extremely good-natured hippo and likes to have her back scratched," Wing said.

Pygmy hippos are herbivores and are indigenous to Liberia, Ivory Coast, Sierra Leone and Guinea in Africa. Their life expectancy in captivity is between 30 and 45 years, the newspaper said.

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