Though deadly, hippos are amazing animals that are being poached for their tusks and their meat. Three hippos at the Cheyenne Mountain Zoo have become ambassadors to their species. Meet Zambizi, Casai and Maggie.
April Hyatt begins her day, everyday, cleaning out the hippo pool. She's been caring for the hippos here for years and she has her hands full. That's because 14 year old Zambizi, 7 year old Casai and 33 year old Maggie all weigh in around 3,000 pounds a piece. April has to take special precaution when working with these massive animals.
"When we train it's always the bars and then us."
Training is a big part of what April does with the girls, but it's not all fun and games. The training helps April keep the Hippos healthy. They have to check their skin, their feet and of course their teeth and I can tell you from first hand experience, those teeth need brushing. But it's also those teeth that are what endanger the hippos in the wild.
"Their tusks aren't true ivory, but they're close enough so they'll poach them for their tusks"
But with ambassadors like these three, the Cheyenne Mountain Zoo hopes that people will learn to love, and protect these creatures.
The reason hippos are so dangerous is that they are very territorial. And you wouldn't think it because of their size, but they can run 25 to 30 miles per hour, trampling victims and their strong jaws can snap alligators or canoes like toothpicks.
For more info about what the Cheyenne Mountain Zoo has to offer click on the link below.