It’s usually placid and low profile. Rarely seen during the day, immersed in the not so clear waters around his new home, Dalpati is one of the mild mannered members of the zoo that arrived here three days ago from the Hyderabad zoo.
Unlike its other partner in the zoo, it doesn’t soak up the sun and prefers the cool dip. A new place, unusual people and a different climate makes her go underwater, zoo curator Rahul Pandey says.
It would take at least another 10 days for Dalpati to be accustomed to the new ambience. Potatoes, carrots, bananas, cattle feed are all part of the daily diet of this seven-year-old massive animal. Currently, Vizag zoo has two hippos, a male and a female. It had lost its male hippo last year in July.
Though not called a strictly nocturnal animal, the hippos normally sleep during day and are active at night. They can cover about 33 km in water each night in search of food. Though slow on land, the seemingly portly animal is very agile in water, can turn into a violent burst of energy if upset.
They can sink to the bottom of rivers and literally walk or run along the bottom. The main habitat of the mammal is deep water with adjacent reed beds and grasslands. According to zoo authorities, the life span of the hippo ranges from 35 to 40 years in captivity, while in the wild as they are exposed to several threats, it is comparatively less.
While the International Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural Sources (IUCN) has categorised this mammal as a ‘vulnerable’ species, the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Flora and Fauna (CITES) has added the hippo to its list under Appendix II (The list of species that could become endangered unless the trade is controlled and monitored. Import permits are issued after approval by the relevant scientific and management authorities).
Some of the other animals that arrived from the Hyderabad zoo along with the hippo are four Emu birds, four white peacocks, two ring necked pheasants, three silver pheasants, two golden pheasants.
More to come
The animals were brought in exchange of a pair of wild dog, a pair of barking deer and a hog deer. Shortly, the zoo will receive four Nilgai and four Thamin deer from Hyderabad this month.