San Diego/ Parks & Nature
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Published on November 18, 2023
VIDEO: San Diego Wildlife Center Celebrates Beloved Pygmy Hippo's 50th Birthday with Golden Jubilee BashSource: San Diego Humane Society

Hannah Shirley, North America's oldest pygmy hippopotamus, recently celebrated her 50th birthday. The special occasion was marked with a grand celebration at the San Diego Humane Society's Ramona Wildlife Center on Wednesday according to the San Diego Humane Society.

With a Golden-themed birthday party, staff and volunteers provided a feast fit for a pygmy hippo, including a watermelon base cake adorned with papaya "frosting," spaghetti squash, sweet grain, and Purina Nicker Makers Horse Treat sprinkles. To everyone's delight, nocturnal by nature, Hannah indulged fully in the revelries, dispelling the notion that humans alone know to relish good parties.

Since 2002, Hannah has resided in tranquility at the Ramona Wildlife Center, where she was brought to life after being found in a residential backyard in Escondido. She was relocated to the San Diego Humane Society when, on September 1, 2020, it acquired The Fund for Animals Wildlife Center. Today, Hannah is one of 15 ambassador animals under the institution's care and a testament to their exceptional care and dedication per their press release.

"You can tell how loved Hannah Shirley is by our staff and volunteers just by looking at the details in this celebration," comments Andy Blue, campus director at San Diego Humane Society's Ramona Wildlife Center. He added, "She's treated to feel like royalty every day, but reaching 50 years old is an incredible milestone for an animal who wouldn't typically surpass 30 in the wild." These words highlight the extraordinary commitment to the organization's mission to ensure Hannah and other animal companions live fulfilling lives.

Hannah Shirley's humble abode includes a 13,000-square-foot paddock replete with a swimming pool, a natural pond, and many activities to enrich her life, including back rubs, sprinkler showers, and assorted food-based pastimes.