With Warmer Weather, Philadelphia Zoo’s Hippos Reintroduced to Outdoor Habitat

By Steve Tawa

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — The Philadelphia Zoo’s two female hippopotami today splashed around in their outdoor pool for the first time this spring.

Hippopotamus expert and lead keeper Betsy Karkowski watched as the pair, Unna (left) and Cindy, enjoyed their first dip in the outdoor pool.

Karkowski says the hippos had been kept inside at the African Plains section of the zoo during the winter and early spring.

“They’re guided by the water temperature,” she explains, “so while the air temperature has been nice and warm lately, we had to wait for the water to get above 50 degrees in order for them to make their debut outside.”

Both hippos are 24 years old, weigh about 2,500 pounds each, and have been residents of the Philadelphia Zoo since 1990.

“The outdoor pool is a little deeper than their indoor pool, so they looked excited there,” Karkowski said.

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