Sunday, February 22, 2009

Zorro the hippo finds home in sanatation plant

A hippo in South Africa named Zorro has found a new home in a sanitation plant.

Wood said the 4-year-old hippo, named Zorro because of the zigzag scar on his back caused by his father's tusk during a fight, was "happy" in his new surroundings. He is living in the plant's pans — shallow pools once used to store untreated wastewater but made mostly redundant by new technology.

The pans now contain primarily clean water surrounded by grassy areas.

"There are big beautiful pans and lots of grazing," Wood said.

Wood said it is believed that Zorro had been on the run from his father, Brutus when he found the gap in the fence.

Young bull hippos will often get booted out of their herd after challenging the strongest male. In the wild, the young males move off and begin their own herds.

The sewage plant and the wetlands that surround it are part of the False Bay Coastal Park, one of the many nature reserves in a city famous for its flora and fauna. The wetland area is home to the only six hippos in Cape Town, where they were once numerous. The creatures, which are becoming endangered, were reintroduced 30 years ago.

Hippos are known to be violent, and Wood said the pans were being secured so that Zorro could not escape and become a threat to the public.

They're eventually going to capture Zorro and find a new home for him. I hope they find Zorro a girlfriend too.

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