IPOH, April 22 — It was a rocky beginning to the four-month courtship.
Juwita the hippopotamus just did not like her potential suitor, Jiwang.
But eventually, she learned to accept him.
And yesterday, the two hippopotamuses at the Lost World of Tambun’s petting zoo got “married”.
The simple “ceremony” was held at the zoo’s hippopotamus kingdom on Wednesday evening.
Park general manager Nurul Nuzairi said preparation for the wedding began last year when the one-tonne male hippopotamus Jiwang was procured from a zoo in Pahang.
“We have been trying to get our female hippopotamus Juwita a mate since she first came to us five years ago as we wanted to ensure the male mate was from a different gene pool.”
“It is to ensure the calf they get will be a healthy one,” he said.
Nurul said Juwita, who was procured from a zoo in Kuala Lumpur, is 21 years old while Jiwang is estimated to be between eight and 10 years old.
“Juwita is at the ideal age for calf bearing,” he added.
When Jiwang first arrived at the zoo on January 21, zoo workers had problems getting Juwita, who weighs 1.4 tonnes, to accept Jiwang.
“Hippopotamuses are known to be territorial,” he said, adding that as time passed Juwita learned to accept her new mate.
“Hopefully by Hari Raya we will get good news,” he added.
During the ceremony, the “newlyweds” were fed a basket of fruits to celebrate their union.
The diet of hippopotamus included fruits and vegetables.
The wedding, touted to be the first for animals, is also to promote the park’s wedding packages.