WWF holiday adoption gift guide: Introducing the Hippopotamus!

This holiday season, WWF is introducing six new species for you to adopt and take home, including the hippopotamus. Let’s meet the hippo!

Hippopotamus standing on the shore with its mouth wide open. Uganda © Howard Buffett / WWF-US

The hippopotamus weighing up to 3,600 kilograms, is the heaviest land animal after the elephant.  Hippos may look more like pigs but their closest living relatives are actually cetaceans such as whales and porpoises.  Their eyes and ears are on the top of their head so they can watch for enemies, like crocodiles, while lying low in the water.  Hippopotamus means ‘river horse’ in Greek, although the hippo is more closely related to a pig than a horse.
Hippopotamus amphibious. 
The hippopotamus lives in swampy areas, lakes, and rivers in Africa.
Hippos are herbivores. They leave the water at night to come to shore and feed on short grasses and fallen fruit.

  • Hunting for their meat and the ivory in their teeth. With the international trade ban on elephant ivory, the demand for ivory derived from the canine teeth of the hippopotamus has increased. Within just two years of the elephant ivory ban taking effect, there was a 530 per cent increase in the annual export of hippo teeth from Africa.
  • Habitat Loss as human populations grow. People encroach on wildlife habitats as they build new settlements, increase agricultural production and construct new roads. Hippos tend to prefer to live in areas of slow-moving fresh water with nearby flat grassy areas to feed on. This is exactly the sort of area that humans also find desirable.
  • Human-hippo conflict. Hundreds of hippopotamus are shot each year despite the fact that ditches or low fences easily deter hippos.

Hippopotamus female and calf head portraits, submerged in lily covered pool, Masai Mara National Reserve, Kenya. © naturepl.com / Anup Shah / WWF-Canon

WWF is helping the hippopotamus by:

  • Securing spaces for hippopotamus in the Mara-Serengeti where WWF are helping pilot plans that use water more efficiently, improve the management of the region’s forests and reduce deforestation.
  • Balancing the needs of hippos and humans and developing models to reduce conflict. Many of our initiatives have been expanded to projects across Africa.
  • Stopping poaching and other illegal activities by encouraging Tanzania and Kenya to cooperate on patrolling and law enforcement.

With your symbolic adoption, you’re helping WWF fight to secure the long-term survival of the hippopotamus. What’s more, you’re also helping to save other species at risk around the world and to provide a healthier natural world for us all.
Each adoption kit includes a high quality wildlife plush, personalized adoption certificate, a stunning species poster, a reusable tote bag and an applicable tax receipt.
Visit our e-store shop.wwf.ca for all your holiday gift options from WWF and give a meaningful gift that keeps on giving!