MEMPHIS, TENN. – 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
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 she 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.
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.