Thailand's oldest hippopotamus "Mae Mali" eats fruit and vegetables during her 55th birthday party at Khao Kheow zoo in Chon Buri, Thailand September 8, 2020 Photograph:( Reuters )
Thailand celebrated the 55th birthday of its oldest hippopotamus - Mae Mali with fervour on September 8
Thailand celebrated the 55th birthday of its oldest hippopotamus - Mae Mali with fervour on September 8.
Mae Mali means “Mother Jasmine” in Thai, and was moved to a compound at Khao Kheow Open Zoo in eastern Thailand in 2018, two years ago from a Bangkok zoo.
The hippo has outlived the typical hippo’s life expectancy, which is at 40-50 years on an average.
Mali’s birthday was celebrated with an assortment of fruits and vegetables arranged in the shape of a cake. Spectators including children sang songs around the hippo.
"Mae Mali is now a grandma. We have been taking great care of her regarding her health, food, and environment," zoo director Attaporn Srihayrun told Reuters.
Mali has given birth to calves, and her descendants now amount to 21 hippos that are now scattered across zoos in the Southeast Asian country.
"Mae Mali cannot reproduce anymore because she's quite elderly. But we will still take great care of her so that she can become one of the longest living hippopotamus in the world," Attaporn said.
Hippopotamuses live in rivers and lakes in the sub-Saharan African area. Due to habitat loss, they’re now considered vulnerable.
According to the World Wildlife Fund, there are around 115,000 to 130,000 hippopotamuses left in the wild.