Join us at the Zoo on August 3 from 10am – 3pm for Fritz’s Birthday Celebration!
Animal Enrichment Schedule
|10:00am||Elephant Reserve – Elephants|
|10:30am||Cheetah Encounter Running Yard|
|10:30am||Jungle Trails – Orangutan|
|10:30am||Jungle Trails – Bonobo|
|12pm||Giraffe Ridge – Giraffes|
|1:00pm||Dragons! – Komodo Dragon|
|2:30pm||Cat Canyon – Snow Leopards|
Fiona and Fritz have raised awareness and interest in hippos. They’re ambassadors for their species and a great example of why zoos exist. Interest in the Nile hippo and protecting its habitat in Africa benefits all species, many critically endangered, that share their ecosystem. Hippos are ‘ecosystem engineers’, meaning they shape the environment around them. They create grazing areas that act as connection between land and water habitats and bring nutrients and microorganisms into the water from the land and vice versa as they travel between the two.
They’re also indicator species and can provide us with an idea of how changes in climate may be impacting their ecosystem and other animal populations. For example, if a population of hippos die off due to lack of water this is indicative that such drought conditions may not be normal for that region and also that many other species are likely suffering.
While not considered endangered, wild populations are currently declining due to habitat loss and degradation, increased incidence of drought, and some poaching. Increased drought and less rainfall means there is less grazing areas for hippos to rely on for food. They will travel upwards of 35km in one night to find food, but the larger issue is that by having to search for food or water, there is a much greater chance of conflict with people/livestock, especially since the human population is increasing.
The Cincinnati Zoo partners with many conservation groups around the world. If you book a behind the scenes tour, 50% of that goes towards our conservation partners!
The Hippo Barn Tour experience supports the animals in our care, and also supports VulPro and the Uganda Waterways Project. VulPro supports the rescue, rehabilitation, and release of ill and injured vultures. The Uganda Waterways Project supports the patrols of rivers to prevent poaching of hippos and other African wildlife.