If everything goes to plan, Cheyenne Mountain Zoo will eventually be hearing the pitter-patter of little hippo feet.
Or whatever sound baby hippos make.
On Tuesday, the Colorado Springs zoo welcomed its first male hippo in 31 years. Biko, a 17-year-old male Nile hippopotamus, came to the zoo from Florida as part of the Association of Zoos and Aquariums’ Nile Hippopotamus Species Survival Plan.
He will join two female hippos, Zambezi and Kasai, who returned recently from a Missouri zoo where they had been on loan while the new Water’s Edge: Africa exhibit was being built, according to a Cheyenne Mountain Zoo press release.
Zambezi and Kasai are currently visible to guests at Water’s Edge: Africa. Biko will acclimate to his new home and complete a routine quarantine period before being introduced to the female hippos, according to zoo officials.
The last male hippo at Cheyenne Mountain Zoo was Tony, who died in 1989. If successful, this would be the first time any of the three hippos produced offspring, the zoo said.