CINCINNATI — The Cincinnati Zoo and Botanical Garden’s newest resident is “huge, dark and handsome” Tucker the hippo from the San Francisco Zoo, spokesperson Michelle Curley announced Tuesday.
The 18-year-old male will join one of the zoo’s most popular exhibits — miracle-baby hippo Fiona and her mother Bibi — when he’s been acclimated to his new home. Keepers hope he’ll round out Cincinnati’s pod, forming a complete hippo social group and providing Bibi with another adult companion.
“The Association of Zoos and Aquariums’ Hippo Species Survival Plan (SSP) recommended that Tucker move to Cincinnati to be Bibi’s companion and to enjoy being part of a hippo pod,” said animal care director Christina Gorsuch. “If a baby is in their future, it will be way down the road before that happens.”
Four-year-old Fiona was Bibi’s calf with Henry, another male hippo who died in 2017. Born prematurely, Fiona was among the smallest Nile hippo calves ever recorded and needed to be hand-raised by human keepers before she could reunite with her family.
She’ll still be the center of attention while Tucker is introduced to the exhibit, first by meeting his new roommates behind the scenes and then by getting alone time outdoors before they’re all ready to spend time together.
According to his former keepers in San Francisco, Tucker loves to snack on melons, beets, squash, hay and grain. He’s a Taurus — and, yes, zookeepers are already trying to figure out his astrological compatibility with Bibi. She’s a Pisces.