More than a Century
The Memphis Zoo has had the same family line of hippos for more than a century. It all started with "Adonis" in 1914. Adonis lived an extraordinary long life for a hippo, and had three separate mates. His last mate was "Josephine," the mother of our beloved "Julie." Julie was born on July 8, 1961. She and her mate, "Uebi," produced 10 offspring, including a set of twins.
Twins "Splish" and "Splash," named by native Memphian Cybill Shepherd, were born on Christmas Day 1988. Splish still resides in the Memphis Zoo. Splash was transferred from Memphis in 1990. The birth of hippo twins is a rare occurrence, and these newborns quickly became a media sensation. They were featured on the cover of LIFE magazine in March 1989 and also received mentions from USA Today and "Good Morning America."
Julie died in 2013 at the age of 51. After Julie's passing, the Memphis Zoo acquired "Binti" from Disney's Animal Kingdom in 2013. "Uzazi," the Zoo's new male, also hails from Disney's Animal Kingdom. He joined the herd in 2016.
Our Current Hippos
We have three hippos at the Memphis Zoo. The male is named Uzazi. The females are Splish and Binti. The girls have their own Twitter account – @Hippos901. Follow along for fun updates!
Splish was born December 25, 1988 at the Memphis Zoo. She has a twin brother, "Splash." The twins were named by native Memphian Cybill Shepherd, and were featured on the cover of LIFE Magazine in March 1989.
Splish is sassy, and a bit of a diva. How do you tell Splish and Binti apart? Splish is the shorter of the two girls, both height and length. Her legs are shorter, as well. She's a bit pinker around the face, and has more dimpled skin than Binti does.
Binti was born at the Denver Zoo in 1998. She was transferred to Disney’s Animal Kingdom before she was moved to the Memphis Zoo. Her name means daughter, or young lady, in Swahili, and is a name often used as a term of endearment.
Binti is the unassuming one of our girls. She's taller and longer than Splish. Her skin is sleeker, and has more of a gray tone to it.
Although male hippos can be aggressive and territorial, Uzazi has shown us his patient, yet deliberate approach to his new friends in Memphis Zoo. From the time he came out of his crate, through all steps taken pre and post introduction to females and his new habitat, he has shown us a male hippo that is at-ease, adapting to new environment and new routines. His former care givers described him as a "gentle giant." We agree.
Moving to Zambezi
The number one question we've been asked regarding Zambezi is "So how did you move the hippos?" A crate, teamwork, and a lot of patience.
Back in February, we shared a blog post about crate training our hippos. (Click here to read the post.) In mid-April, we put the training to good use and moved the girls from their old home (the only one Splish had ever known!) to their brand-new, state-of-the-art, new home in Zambezi River Hippo Camp. Here’s how we did it…
April 15: Splish Moves to Zambezi
April 16: Binti Moves to Zambezi
April 21: Binti and Splish Go Outside
in Zambezi for the First Time
Which Hippo Are You?
Fun Facts about Hippos