May 9th 2024

BIOPARC Valencia receives a young hippopotamus

The European hippopotamus conservation program has recommended the transfer of Serena, who has just turned 3 years old, to BIOPARC Valencia.

El common hippopotamus (Hippopotamus amphibius) is one of the best known and also most fascinating species. Its behavior must have seemed truly amazing to the Greeks, who decided to call it a “river horse” because they certainly seem to ride in the aquatic environment. They remain submerged most of the time in large rivers, where they are able to carry out all their activity, from sleeping or eating to mating, giving birth and even suckling. With the aim of providing the best image of its behavior, BIOPARC Valencia faithfully recreates the great african lakes with a living ecosystem where these giants swim among a multitude of cichlid fish, offering the only underwater vision of Spain.



To guarantee his well-being throughout the process, he is in a period of adaptation to the park group formed by the female Rigas and her son Gori and acclimatization to his new home, where he can enjoy the impressive Kitum cave area that offers the only underwater view of this species in Spain.

The hippopotamus is among the nearly 50 international conservation programs for endangered species in which BIOPARC Valencia participates. A common work in which a selection of parks participate, with the overall objective of trying to guarantee the survival of these endangered species. He group of specialists recommended the transfer of a young female to the Valencian park and this complicated movement was recently carried out from the Basel Zoo (Switzerland).

After the long trip, Serena, who turned 3 last week, is settling into her new home. It is essential to maintain all precautions and apply monitoring protocols to ensure their well-being and, among other actions, one of the people in charge of their care previously traveled from the Alpine country. Together with the BIOPARC technical team, they provided the necessary peace of mind and attention, especially in the first “presentations” with Rigas and Gori. The hippopotamus's evolution is excellent and for the moment it remains in the indoor enclosures, getting used to and recognizing the different spaces that include an outdoor patio and an aquatic facility.

The decline in the hippopotamus population due to habitat loss and poaching led to its incorporation at the beginning of this century to the IUCN Red List, currently with a status of “vulnerable to extinction.”

Once again, humans are the great threat to this famous species.. The aggressiveness with which it defends its territory has elevated the hippopotamus to be the species that causes the most deaths of people. This fact, together with poaching for its meat and precious ivory teeth and the loss of habitat, has caused a bloody population decline. The IUCN (International Union for Conservation of Nature) included it at the beginning of this century on the Red List cataloging it “vulnerable to extinction”. BIOPARC wants to show the grandeur of this species in one of the most impressive areas of the park, the Kitum Cave and also to sharing the love of wild nature and hoping to awaken the desire to protect it.

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