The Oklahoma City Zoo and Botanical Garden have welcomed a 26-year-old female pygmy hippopotamus, Francesca, just in time for the holidays.
Francesca’s arrival was announced at the Zoo’s annual Hippo Holiday Sing-Along, on Saturday by Gayla Peevey, who sang “I Want a Hippopotamus for Christmas”.
Gayla’s popular Christmas song inspired a statewide fundraising drive in 1953 that encouraged Oklahoma’s children to donate a dime to buy the OKC Zoo a hippo for Christmas. This campaign resulted in the OKC Zoo’s first hippo, Mathilda, a Nile hippopotamus.
“It was such a joy to be a part of bringing the first hippo to the Oklahoma City Zoo in 1953,” said Peevey “I never expected to play a part in announcing another hippo’s arrival 64 years later, but it’s been an absolute thrill to be involved with the Zoo all these years, to watch it grow and to see it thrive today,”
Franny will be transported from the San Diego Zoo and join Wolee, a 43-year-old male pygmy hippo, at the OKC Zoo’s pachyderm habitat.