LAHORE: The oldest resident of the zoo, Raja, the male hippopotamus who spent 41-years there, died here on Sunday.
Raja was imported for the zoo from Africa back in 1974. The apparent reason for his death, according to zoo officials, was his age.
“He had started showing signs of old age and his vital organs were not working properly”, zoo Deputy Director Mudassar Hassan said.
He, however, added that the postmortem report of the animal would be issued on Monday (today).
To a question, he said the administration was considering preserving the skull of the animal for the zoo museum.
He said natural life span of a hippo was 50 years.
According to wildlife experts on hippos in captive breeding, the animal could not live out of water continuously for 24 hours. If it is kept out of water for 24 hours, it may die. An adult hippo can consumes 182 liter water in a day.
The zoo officials told Dawn that the young female hippo, who is about 16 years old, showed a lot of concern about her ailing partner. During his illness, they said, she would sit near him out of water for at least two to three hours daily which was difficult for hippos.
As the zoo is left with only a female hippo, its administration would consider arranging a partner for her, but pairing has always been an issue with local zoos.
Now the zoo will have to bring in a male hippo, along with giraffes which are being already missed by the visitors.
Published in Dawn, October 26th, 2015