October 26, 2016

A zoo in Northern Italy just celebrated the birth of a baby hippo and asked the Internet for help naming it, and in true online community fashion, Facebook delivered. After tallying up votes on the social media platform, the Parco Natura Viva in Veneto declared the winner of the name contest “Popo,” translating to butterfly in Swahili. 

Baby Popo, who was born at the zoo last week, already weighs one ton. The zoo’s veterinary director, Camillo Sandri, says the new hippo is "particularly bold and enterprising, spending a lot of time out of the pond,” according to The Local Italy.

Popo is the 10th hippopotamus born to the same set of parents in the Parco Natura Viva. The parents are among the oldest in Europe, both over 40. Hippos have a life expectancy of 40-50 years. Zoo officials said that Popo will most likely be the last baby born to this hippo couple.

The zoo also shared that Popo’s mother protects the baby hippo from a jealous older brother, who is understandably miffed at no longer being the baby of the pack.

The five other names up for vote were—in order of most votes—Tamu (which means “sweet” in Swahili), Wimbi (which means “wave” in Swahili), Qamata (which means “great spirit” in Xhosa), Zibu (which means “water lily” in Zulu) and Tunda (which means “fruit” in Swahili). It's still too early to determine the baby hippo's sex, so all of the chosen names are all unisex.

Popo is the seventh hippopotamus born in a European zoo this year. Although the species is not endangered, the World Wildlife Fund has named it “vulnerable” due to poaching and the deconstruction of its natural habitat.

You May Like