A hippo floats contentedly in a zoo enclosure.
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Cincinnati Zoo launches fundraising campaign for new hippo exhibit

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CINCINNATI -- The Cincinnati Zoo is hoping for a hippo for Christmas and you can help.

Zoo officials say they’re asking people taking part in the “#GivingTuesday” event to donate to the cause.

“GivingTuesday” is the latest in a string of Thanksgiving-related shopping holidays such as Black Friday, Small Business Saturday and Cyber Monday.

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Participants are encouraged to give back instead of shop and donate to causes they care about.

The zoo is launching a campaign to raise $25,000 in the next 24 hours to launch fundraising for its hippo exhibit.

The hippo exhibit will be part of the “Africa” exhibit at the zoo; a five-phase, eight-acre $33 million mixed savannah exhibit featuring giraffes, cheetahs, lions and more.

The hippo exhibit will cost $7 million and will provide patrons the ability to see hippos swim under water. That exhibit is scheduled to open in the summer of 2015.

Zoo workers said they will welcome new meerkats, African wild dogs, new hooved animals and African birds next summer.

Employees – including Thayne Maynard -- sang a Christmas favorite to get in the spirit of #GivingTuesday.

If you would like to donate, you can do so online or by texting HIPPO to 41444 to donate via a mobile device.

Copyright 2013 Scripps Media, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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