BROOKFIELD, IL – The Brookfield Zoo is going bananas over its newest resident.
She’s a female pygmy hippopotamus named, Banana!
Visitors will find her inside the zoo’s Pachyderm House or in the outdoor habitat on the west side of the building.
WGN News Now spoke to Dana Vinci, Lead Animal Care Specialist at the Brookfield Zoo about Banana.
She said Banana arrived in May from the Center for Conservation of Tropical Ungulates (CCTU) in Punta Gorda, Florida at the end of May and moved to the Zoo’s Pachyderm building at the beginning of June.
“Banana seems to be adjusting to Chicago pretty well, we’ll see how she enjoys Chicago winters because that’s a lot different from Florida where she’s from.” said Vinci. “She’s going to be three next month, so she’s much younger than any of the pygmy hippos we’ve had before here at the Brookfield Zoo, or at least that I have worked with. They were all 30 or above. She’s got a lot more spunk. She’s a very spirited little animal that we are all very excited to work with.”
Pygmy hippos are considered endangered because there are less than 3,000 left in the wild. “They’re an animal we really feel are important to protect and save and let people see and tell them about. ” said Vinci. “So, we reached out to other holders who house pygmy hippos and the CCTU agreed to send her to us.”
Full grown pygmy hippos are about 5.75 feet in length and weigh between 350 and 600 pounds.
Vinci just weighed Banana last week and said she clocked in at 390 pounds.
Next month, on August 27th, Banana will celebrate her third birthday. “Normally for some of our animals we’ll have a little birthday cake, maybe sing them happy birthday.” said Vinci. “We haven’t got to that part of the party planning process yet, but she’ll probably get a special little cake.”
You can learn more about Banana in the video above including why the story behind her name, what mammal is her closest relative, and how you can help protect them from being an endangered species .