Baby hippo confined, zoo critics say

Aug. 14, 2005 at 1:21 PM
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VANCOUVER, British Columbia, Aug. 14 (UPI) -- The Vancouver (Canada) Zoo is being disparaged for a lack of adequate housing for Hazina, its 700-pound baby hippopotamus.

In the 10 months since Hazina (Swahili for "treasure") came to the zoo via Quebec, the city's Humane Society says, she has been confined to 8-by-8-foot quarters -- unsuitable for an animal with the size and social tendencies of the hippo.

Zoo officials defended Hazina's housing. "She has two large stalls. She has an indoor pond. She has access to the door to get sunlight," said Jamie Dixon, animal care manager for the zoo.

But the Humane Society's Peter Fricker said that four hippos have died at the zoo since 1983, the CBC said.

Fricker also criticized the zoo for spending thousands on a miniature train for visitors while ignoring the hippo. "If they can afford to spend money on that kind of thing for visitor attraction why aren't they spending the money on getting this facility going?" he asked.

The zoo has said that the hippo facility will be revamped over the next 60 days.

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