Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Zoo's Hippo, Happy, Moves to Milwaukee

-- Happy the hippo has moved to his new home at the Milwaukee County Zoo.

You know the 5,000-pound hippo from the National Zoo, where he has lived since his birth in 1981. But the zoo's new Elephant Trails exhibit needs the space occupied by Happy, so the Nile hippo had to move. The Elephant Trails will open in 2011.

Of course, arranging for Happy's new home was no small feat. Zoo staff had to build a massive steel and lumber crate that could hold the huge animal. Then Happy was trained for months to go in and out of the crate, and spend calm time in it, so the trip would not upset him.

Early Monday, the crate was hoisted onto a flatbed truck for the drive to the Milwaukee zoo, in Wisconsin. The truck was followed by a car with two animal keepers and a veterinarian.

The zoo is sad to lose Happy, but zoo officials report he's adjusting well to his new digs. After being kept alone for a few weeks, Happy will live with the Milwaukee zoo's two female hippos, Patty and Puddles.

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