News Release
Contact: Sondra Katzen, Public Relations, 708.688.8351,
July 12, 2022                               
Note: Scroll to bottom of press release for photos of Banana.

Pygmy Hippopotamus Arrives at Brookfield Zoo

Brookfield, Ill. — Brookfield Zoo recently welcomed Banana—a female pygmy hippopotamus who will be turning 3 years old on August 27. As she continues to get acclimated to her new home, guests can see her either inside at the zoo’s Pachyderm House or in her outdoor habitat on the building’s west side.

The zoo has a long history of including the species in its animal collection dating back to when the zoo first opened in 1934. Its most recent pygmy hippo, Adelle, was humanely euthanized in June 2021 due to problems associated with her advanced age—she was a remarkable 44 years old. 

Much smaller and rarer than the common river hippopotamus, the pygmy hippo weighs between 350 and 600 pounds and can reach a body length of up to about 5.75 feet. Although adapted for spending time in the water, it is less aquatic than its larger relative. Hippos secrete a white or pinkish substance called “blood sweat” from their pores that provides a protective coat  like sunscreen on their skin.

The pygmy hippo, whose closest living relative is the whale, is listed as endangered on the IUCN’s (International Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources) Red List of Threatened Species. Found in the interior forests of West Africa’s Ivory Coast, Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone, the population is declining mainly due to deforestation of its habitat as well as an increase in development associated with mining. In addition, due to the pygmy hippo’s range being becoming more fragmented, hunters are posing an additional threat to the remaining population, which is estimated to be between 2,000 to 3,000 individuals.

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Photo Captions (credit: Jim Schulz/CZS-Brookfield Zoo)
2142, 2200, 2211, 2239, 2258: Banana, a pygmy hippopotamus, recently arrived at Brookfield Zoo.

About the Chicago Zoological Society
The mission of the Chicago Zoological Society is to inspire conservation leadership by engaging people and communities with wildlife and nature. The Chicago Zoological Society is a private nonprofit organization that operates Brookfield Zoo on land owned by the Forest Preserves of Cook County. The Society is known throughout the world for its international role in animal population management and wildlife conservation. Its Center for the Science of Animal Care and Welfare is at the forefront of animal care that strives to discover and implement innovative approaches to zoo animal management. Brookfield Zoo is the first zoo in the world to be awarded the Humane Certified™ certification mark for the care and welfare of its animals, meeting American Humane Association’s rigorous certification standards. The zoo is located at 8400 31st Street in Brookfield, Illinois, between the Stevenson (I-55) and Eisenhower (I-290) expressways and also is accessible via the Tri-State Tollway (I-294), Metra commuter line, and CTA and PACE bus service. For further information, visit


Sondra Katzen
Media Relations Manager
Office: 708-688-8351
Cell Phone: 708-903-2071


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