Monarto Safari Park

Hip-hip Hooray, Hippos Return to SA!

Monarto Safari Park is excited to welcome a new species to the park, and as the third largest land mammal in the world they’re sure to make a splash!

Two Nile Hippopotamuses, Brindabella and Pansy, have travelled from Werribee Open Range Zoo to their new home Monarto Safari Park.

Brindabella and Pansy made the eight hour journey via road trip in specially made hippo crates. Preparation for the trip involved crate training the hippos to help them become familiar and comfortable in their crates.

Monarto Safari Park’s Assistant Curator of Carnivores and Ungulates, Jon Allon, said as hippos spend about 16 hours a day in the water, it was important to keep them wet throughout the journey.

“Hippos have a unique skin and being out of the water for too long can lead to dehydration.

“Brindabella and Pansy travelled at night in cooler weather to minimise this risk and were well cared for on their journey with cooling systems. A spray tank was on hand to wet their skin but the humid conditions kept them comfortable throughout the trip,” said Jon.

After a safe trip the hippos are now settling into their brand new habitat at the park.

The hippo habitat is one of the biggest in Australia and is specially designed to meet the Nile Hippopotamus’ needs. Director of Monarto Safari Park, Peter Clark, led the design of the habitat.

“The huge central waterhole in their habitat features gradual slopes and a variety of depths which should be perfect for the hippos,” he said.

“It also has a sandy beach where we’re looking forward to seeing them soak up some sun.

“The hippos have access to pools in their own off-habitat facilities for those colder nights.”

Hippos have been part of Zoos SA’s history for 120 years, with many people in the community holding fond memories of Brutus and Susie who called Adelaide Zoo home for more than 45 years.

Their legacy continues as Brindabella and Pansy just happen to be Brutus’ and Susie’s granddaughter and great granddaughter!

Brindabella and Pansy’s waterhole is in Monarto Safari Park’s new Wild Africa precinct.

“It is going to be spectacular for Wild Africa guests staying in the hotel to see them emerge from the water in late afternoons to graze,” said Peter.

You can meet the hippos in our sneak peek safari experiences. Either, by taking the journey aboard the new 22-seater safari trucks in the Safari Adventure Tour, or fully immerse with the Premium Safari Adventure Tour in brand-new 9-seater Safari Landcruisers.

Construction on the hotel continues and Zoos SA is working closely with the accommodation developers. The Resort hotel, set to open in the second quarter of 2024, overlooks the hippo habitat.

Nile Hippopotamus are listed as vulnerable to extinction by the IUCN Red List with the primary threat being habitat loss and illegal hunting. It’s estimated the current hippo population is between 115,000 and 130,000.

“It is exciting to see these magnificent animals at the park, and it enables us to increase awareness about the threats to hippos and educate the public on how they can support hippo conservation,” said Peter.

As a conservation charity, Zoos SA’s hippo project was made possible thanks to hippo heroes who generously donated to see hippos on the horizon.

About Zoos SA

Zoos SA is a not-for-profit conservation charity that exists to connect people with nature and save species from extinction.

Zoos SA acknowledges the Country on which we stand always was, and always will be, Aboriginal land and we pay our deepest respect and gratitude to Kaurna (Adelaide Zoo) and Ngarrindjeri (Monarto Safari Park) Elders, past, present and emerging.

We undertake critical conservation work throughout Australia and acknowledge the traditional custodians of these lands.

Sign Up to Our Newsletter

Stay up to date with zoo news and sign up to our Zoo Times eNewsletter