Popular Marwell Zoo pygmy hippo Wendy has passed away

A popular pygmy hippo who has lived at Marwell Zoo for more than two decades has passed away.

Wednesday, 10th April 2019, 11:01 am
Wendy (right) and one of her calves Gloria
Wendy (right) and one of her calves Gloria

The wildlife park said Wendy, who was born at Antwerp Zoo in Belgium in 1995, had started to lose weight in recent weeks and had developed some unusual skin lesions.

In a post on their Facebook page, Marwell said its veterinary team had investigated but Wendy had stopped breathing during anaesthetic.

The zoo said on Facebook: ‘Wendy’s keepers say she was an excellent mother and a very calm pygmy hippo who took everything in her stride.

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Norbert and Wendy. Picture: Steve Spurgin

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‘She was a very gentle character and will be missed by all who worked with her.’

After arriving at Marwell in June 1998, she gave birth to five calves – Taiama, Sirana, Lola, Gloria and Norbert – who have all left the zoo as part of breeding programmes.

‘Such sad news’

Gloria and Wendy. Picture: John Jeffries

Visitors to Marwell shared their reaction to Wendy’s death on the wildlife park’s Facebook page.

Iain Woodhouse said: ‘It was always nice to see the pygmy hippos at the end of a trip to Marwell. We will miss her on our next visit and are glad we saw her not too long ago.’

Sarah Ford posted: ‘The pigmy hippos are always the highlight of our visit. My 4 yr old was devastated when Norbert left and I know he'll be sad hearing the news about Wendy.’

And Kelly Marie Smith said: ‘Sorry to hear this. We visited today and did wonder why I didn't see Wendy. Thinking of everyone at Marwell especially her keepers.’

What is a pygmy hippo?

Pygmy hippos are typically found in parts of West Africa, including in Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone.

They are mainly nocturnal creatures and live in heavily forested areas near streams or swamps.

They feed on a variety of vegetation including leaves and aquatic plants.

Pygmy hippos usually live to up to 40 years.