Suzie the hippo, S'pore zoo pioneer who arrived in 1976, dies at 44

Suzie the hippo was one of WRS' pioneer animals.

Ashley Tan| March 16, 09:34 PM

The Wildlife Reserves Singapore (WRS) shared in a Facebook post on Mar. 16 that one of its pioneer animals has passed on.

Leaving behind a legacy

Suzie the Nile hippopotamus died at the age of 44 years old.

WRS said that this age was well past a hippo's prime, as hippos in the wild typically live up to 40 years.

In a follow-up comment, WRS revealed that Suzie was one of its pioneer animals.

The female hippo first arrived at the Singapore Zoo in 1976, only four years after the world-renowned park opened.

While other animals like Inuka the polar bear, Jia Jia and Kai Kai the pandas, and Ah Meng the orangutan might be more iconic and recognised by the public, Suzie the hippo definitely made an impact with visitors too.

Over her many years in the park, WRS said that she had "greeted millions of guests from around the world, many who share fond memories of her".

She was subsequently moved to the Night Safari in 2002.

Photo from WRS / FB

A calm and tender maternal figure

Suzie was also "tied" to Congo, another male hippo, who was most famously known for escaping the zoo in 1974 and hiding out in Upper Seletar Reservoir for 52 days.

Suzie was known to her keepers as being a "calm, tender maternal figure to family".

The hippo has a legacy of nine children, 18 grandchildren, five great grandchildren and two great great grandchildren.

She leaves behind a daughter named Polling and a grandson, Kassim, at the Night Safari.

Vulnerable animals in the wild

Nile hippos are classified as vulnerable by the IUCN due to their specialised ecology and loss of grazing habitat in their native Africa.

Individuals are also killed for raiding crops and attacking fishermen.

Recently, hippos have also been a target for poaching—their long teeth are used as a substitute for elephant ivory.

You can read WRS' tribute post below:

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Top photo from WRS / FB