September 30, 2009

Hippo quietly moved across country

The National Zoo in Washington said the departure of a 5,000-pound hippo for Milwaukee was handled discretely with a covered crate on a flatbed truck.

Officials at the zoo said Happy the hippopotamus was trucked from the zoo Monday morning without any fanfare to avoid upsetting the animal during the 18-hour drive to Wisconsin's Milwaukee County Zoo, The Washington Post reported Wednesday.

It wasn't in his interest to have him see out (of the crate), or to have anybody be able to see in, National Zoo spokeswoman Karin Korpowski-Gallo said of the hippo.

The move came more than a year after the National Zoo said it was seeking a new home for Happy because his enclosure in the elephant house has been slated for demolition as part of renovation plans.

Officials at the Milwaukee zoo said Happy arrived safely about 3 a.m. Tuesday.

He was in good spirits when he arrived, spokeswoman Jennifer Diliberti said. He started eating shortly after he was unloaded. He appeared to be in good shape.