Thailand's 'superstar' hippo turns 49

Thailand's 'superstar' hippo turns 49

Dusit Zoo shows Mae Mali in a pre-birthday event as the most popular hippopotamus in the country turns 49. (Photo by Thiti Wannamontha)
Dusit Zoo shows Mae Mali in a pre-birthday event as the most popular hippopotamus in the country turns 49. (Photo by Thiti Wannamontha)

Dusit Zoo will throw a birthday party for its most famous resident, Mae Mali the hippopotamus, who turns 49 this month.

Zoo spokeswoman Paowanna Wongmaneewan said Friday that the facility expects about 1,000-plus well-wishers to show up on Saturday and Sunday to sing Happy Birthday to the hefty herbivore.

Her exact birthday was not recorded by the zoo, so it calculated that sometime in September would be a good time to celebrate her birth date.

''Mae Mali is the oldest creature at the zoo. Obviously, she's a superstar to the kids,'' she said.

Dusit Zoo received the river horse from Tilburg Zoo in the Netherlands in 1967 when she was only a year old. Since then the hippo has sired 14 calves, one of them which died young and two others were exported to neighbouring countries.

Malai is in Malaysia and Kao is in Laos now.

Mae Mali's last baby was Mayom, who was born in 1999 and later sent to stay at the Khao Kheow Open Zoo in Chon Buri.

After birthing Mayom, her last, Mae Mali no longer produces a baby anymore due to her age. But the popularity of the living legend among kids has never been threatened, the spokeswoman said.


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