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World Hippo Day 2024: History, Events and Facts

World Hippo Day honors the hippopotamus, a semiaquatic mammal native to sub-Saharan Africa, weighing up to 2,000kg, and promoting conservation efforts.

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World Hippo Day 2024: On February 15, we commemorate the amazing hippopotamus and urge people to take action to keep it from becoming extinct. This is known as World Hippo Day. Before 1909, biologists classified hippos in the same category as pigs. Although hippopotamuses resemble pigs or wild boars in appearance, they are very closely related to dolphins, whales, and porpoises. The natural habitat of hippos is semiaquatic creatures found in sub-Saharan Africa. After elephants and rhinos, they are the third largest terrestrial mammal, weighing up to 2,000 kg. They are herbivores. The main habitats for hippos are lakes, rivers, and mangrove swamps.

World Hippo Day History

It is believed that the Whippomorpha, a class of semiaquatic animals, is where hippos got their start. It was approximately 54 million years ago when this group divided into two branches. Whales and dolphins belong to the first branch, which underwent evolution to become fully aquatic cetaceans. Anthracotheres, a near ancestor of the common hippo, was the result of the second branch.

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All branches of the anthracotheres died extinct during the Pliocene Epoch (more than two million years ago), except those that gave rise to the Hipopotamidae family. Being among the first large animals to reach Africa, these progenitors of hippos moved there some 35 million years ago and eventually came to dominate the continent. The earliest known hippodamian, the Kenyapotamus, lived in Africa between 16 and 8 million years ago. However, Archaeopotamus, a group that thrived in Africa and the Middle East between 7.5 and 1.8 million years ago, is the group from which modern hippos descended.

Before the last glacial period, the European hippopotamus, Hippopotamus antiquus, Hippopotamus major, and Hippopotamus gorgops were among the ancestors of the hippo. They lived throughout Europe and the British Isles. However, the precise cause of the extinction of these hippos remains a mystery, despite scientific speculation that human activity may be to blame.

During the Pleistocene, the ancestors of modern European hippos moved to numerous Mediterranean islands, changed, and eventually went extinct. The Cyprus dwarf hippopotamus, Hippopotamus pentlandi, Hippopotamus melitensis, and Hippopotamus creutzburgi are among these hippos’ species. All hippos in the supercontinent Eurasia died extinct between 50,000 and 16,000 years ago.

Although anthracothere genera existed in North America during the early Oligocene, more than 23 million years ago, there has never been any proof of hippos there. The species has never been successfully introduced into the United States, despite numerous attempts. That was before Pablo Escobar brought four hippos into Columbia without authorization in the late 1980s. Since then, the number of hippos has increased to roughly 100.

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World Hippo Day: How To Observe It

Visit a hippo.

Without a doubt, this is the ideal way to celebrate. Hippos can be seen in several locations. You can visit a nearby zoo to see the hippo display. You might go visit one of the several safaris in Africa. Numerous tour operators focus on safari travel. These let you interact closely and directly with the animal.

Watch a movie with hippos in it.

“Madagascar” is a beloved film. It’s an animation featuring several zoo animals, Gloria the hippo among them. For World Hippo Day, you can either catch up on Gloria and her zoo animal companions’ escapades or look for another hippos-themed film on your streaming provider.

Contribute to a foundation for animals

Hippo populations in the wild are declining. To stop this animal species from going extinct, numerous animal conservation organizations are working nonstop, but they depend on your help to be successful. Donating money is one way you may assist. Even a dollar can save one hippo.

Five fascinating facts about hippos that will astound you

  • Hippopotamuses walk or run down the riverbed in instead of swimming.
  • The hippo’s oily reddish-orange secreted during sunbathing shields its skin from UV radiation and pathogens.
  • The semi-aquatic progenitors of whales and hippos existed approximately 54 million years ago.
  • The tusks on an ape’s front teeth are used for self-defense against attacks.
  • Hippos are incredibly large animals, but they can run between 19 and 30 miles per hour.

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Reasons Why World Hippo Day Matters

It motivates people to act to stop the extinction of hippos.

There are currently between 115,000 and 130,000 hippos in the wild, making them a vulnerable species. Urbanization, mechanized farming, poaching, and lack of access to fresh water are all blamed for their population decline. On World Hippo Day, individuals raise awareness of the dangers hippos face and are inspired to take action by donating to animal conservation organizations, organizing conservation efforts, or educating others.

An integral part of the environment is hippos.

The solid waste, or dung, left by hippos gives rivers and lakes the nutrients they need to support life. If hippos become extinct, populations of certain fish and algae will plummet, which will ultimately result in a scarcity of food in African waterways like Lake Victoria.

Hippos are amazing animals.

The only mammal that can live on land and in the water is the hippos. It transfers nutrients from the land to water bodies, acting as a bridge between the two worlds. Despite being among the most violent mammals, they have sensitive skin. They are bigger than an Olympic sprinter, but they can still run quicker. The hippo is an amazing animal for all of these reasons and more.


Year Date Day
2024 February 15 Thursday
2025 February 15 Saturday
2026 February 15 Sunday
2027 February 15 Monday
2028 February 15 Tuesday

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