The death of Henry the Hippo at the Cincinnati Zoo hit his keepers and fans of the zoo pretty hard this week. Zoo Director Thane Maynard says the 36-year-old Nile hippopotamus may be gone but he won't be forgotten.
Henry was euthanized after developing an infection.
"As with all of the animals at the zoo after they pass away, our veterinarians do an autopsy. With animals it's called a necropsy. And that way they're able to carefully learn from everything that's got to do with the history of that animal," says the zoo's director.
Maynard says the zoo will keep tissue and genetic samples and then Henry's body will be "disposed of."
The Cincinnati Zoo does not have immediate plans to replace him. Maynard says hippos have been very popular since their exhibit opened last year. He says, eventually, they will look at bringing in another male.
"What we will probably do is let Fiona grow up another couple of years, let her get a little bigger, and then work with the AZA, (Association of Zoos and Aquariums) to determine which would be the best mate to add to that gene pool. And who knows, down the road, hopefully Fiona might even become a mom. But that would be years away," Maynard says.
He says Fiona, who was born premature, could be old enough to reproduce in about three or four years. He says the zoo has to be careful about space at Hippo Cove.
"We don't have room for five hippos but we certainly have room for three."