The Metro Richmond Zoo welcomed a baby hippo on December 6, 2022. The hippo was born to parents Iris and Corwin after a seven-month gestational period. The calf weighed a healthy 16 pounds at birth and is growing quickly more and more each day. She is confident enough in the water that she leads the way into the pool. She enjoys splashing in the water and playing with underwater currents.
Naming the hippo
To get the public involved, the zoo asked for help by submitting appropriate names for the pygmy hippopotamus calf. Richmond residents and other interested persons submitted thousands of names. Then those names were narrowed down to six names to be voted on.
When the poll closed on January 22, a total of 18,963 votes had been received. Here are the names submitted along with the number of votes each name received.
- Petunia: the winning name with 5,079 votes or 26.8%
- Dumplin’: 4,070 votes
- Penelope: 3,615 votes
- Olive: 3,550 votes
- Holly: 2,110 votes
- Gayla: 539 votes
More than likely, the winning name came about because the hippo's mother's name is Iris. Petunia was selected because it is also a flower.
The Metro Richmond Zoo
The Metro Richmond Zoo is a privately owned, for-profit zoo located in the central Virginia area. It is currently Virginia's largest zoological park and the only place in the state where people can see hippos. You can visit and see Petunia any day of the year except on Sundays and major holidays: Thanksgiving, Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, and New Year's Day.
The zoo is situated on 150 acres of land. When you visit the zoo to see Petunia, don't leave without seeing some of the other animals because the Metro Richmond Zoo is home to 2,000 animals which represent 190 species from around the world. When the zoo opened to the public on April 22, 1995, it was home to only 167 animals representing only 15 species.
Other than connecting with the wild, there are many other things to do at the Metro Richmond Zoo. Activities are available from feeding giraffes to relaxing on the train to ziplining above kangaroos. There is shopping and plenty of things to eat at the zoo.
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