Former Disney hippo making friends in new surroundings

Memphis Zoo gets new hippo to pal with Splish

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MEMPHIS, Tenn. - The Memphis Zoo's hippopotamus Splish, who officials said mourned the death of her mother in March, has a new friend.

Zookeeper Dina Mandino said the 25-year-old Splish didn't eat for about three weeks after 51-year-old Julie died. Julie had given birth to 10 calves over her life, including Splish and her twin Splash in 1988.

Memphis newspaper, The Commercial Appeal, reports Binti arrived Wednesday from Disney's Animal Kingdom in Bay Lake, Fla. Mandino said Splish and Binti greeted each other Thursday by touching noses. Binti, also a female, is 10 years younger than Splish.

In 2015, the zoo plans to move both hippos to a new exhibit called Zambezi River Hippo Camp, which will include an underwater viewing area.

Zoo officials also hope to begin a hippo breeding program.

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