Thailand's oldest hippopotamus, Mae Mali, celebrated her 55th birthday by gorging on an assortment of fruits and vegetables arranged in the shape of a cake, as children and other spectators sang to her.
According to a report by Reuters, Mae Mali moved to a compound at Khao Kheow Open Zoo in eastern Thailand two years ago from a zoo in Bangkok. At 55 years of age, Mae Mali, which means "Mother Jasmine" in Thai, has already outlived the typical life expectancy of a hippo of around 40 to 50 years old.
"Mae Mali is now a grandma. We have been taking great care of her regarding her health, food, and environment," Attaporn Srihayrun, zoo director, told the media.
Having given birth to numerous calves, Mae Mali has 21 descendants residing in zoos across the country.
Srihayrun added that as the hippo is old, she cannot reproduce anymore. "But we will still take great care of her so that she can become one of the longest living hippopotami in the world," Srihayrun said.
As the wild hippopotamus lives in rivers and lakes in sub-Saharan Africa, they are now considered vulnerable due to habitat loss. An adult hippo can weigh from 1,500 kg to 3,200 kg. The second-heaviest land animal after the elephant, hippos spend the day in the water and come ashore at night to feed on grasses and fruits.
Another hippo named Bertha from the Philippines is considered to be the oldest hippopotamus in captivity at the time and died at the age of 65 in 2017.
Meanwhile, Lucifer, or "Lu", is reportedly celebrated his 60th birthday at a wildlife park in Florida, US, in January this year.
According to the World Wildlife Fund, there are around 115,000 to 130,000 hippos left in the wild.