Pygmy Hippo at John Ball Zoo Attacks, Kills Exhibit Counterpart
It's true what they say, the hippo is the most dangerous animal in Africa... and the zoo apparently. Not the Lion, not any of the big cats, or other predators out there... it's the hippo, straight up.
Even the little guys can be ferocious, as zookeepers learned at John Ball Zoo this week, as one of their new Pygmy Hippos attacked, and killed its exhibit counterpart, a type of African Antelope that is practically twice its size.
The exhibit, called "Hippopalooza" was set to open on June 2nd, but that might be delayed now after the attack. The intent was, to introduce the pygmy hippos to several other animals who would share the exhibit with them, and show how multiple species can co-exist in an environment.
Zookeepers say they had plans for two European White Storks, and a Sitatunga named "Chopper" to join the hippos.
"After successful visual introductions between Chopper and the pygmy hippo throughout the last month, trained animal care staff were attempting a controlled introduction of our pygmy hippo with Chopper inside their habitat when the pygmy hippo suddenly attacked Chopper." - Peter D'Arienzo, John Ball Zoo CEO
He went on to say zoo staff separated the animals immediately, and provided care for Chopper, but ultimately, his injuries were too extensive, and he died.
While the Pygmy Hippo was relatively new to the world, Chopper has been around, and cared for by zookeepers for several years. He was born at the Maryland Zoo in Baltimore in 2016, and spent time in the San Diego Zoo Safari Park before coming to John Ball earlier this year.
"This sad incident reminds us that despite enormous cautionary measures taken by zoo staff over the last several weeks, the behavior of wild animals can be unpredictable."