No Room at the Zoo: Baby Hippo May Meet His Maker

Zookeepers deny little Farasi will be put down
By Wesley Oliver,  Newser Staff
Posted Mar 13, 2009 2:53 PM CDT
Hippo baby Farasi, born on Nov. 6, 2008, is seen in its enclosure along with mother Helvetia in the zoo in Basel, Switzerland.   (AP Photo/Keystone, Andreas Frossard, File)
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(Newser) – Farasi, the hippopotamus calf that has dazzled Switzerland since his birth last November, needs a new home, fast. Otherwise, he could become animal chow for the Basel Zoo's carnivores, the Wall Street Journal reports. The 220-pound hippo, who beat out Roger Federer to be named 2008’s “Swiss of the Year,” can’t remain at Basel because the zoo has room for only one male. And so far, no other zoos have stepped up.

Farasi has now become a cause célèbre in Switzerland, and a Save Farasi group on Facebook has 15,000 members trying to track down zoos on their own. “Euthanasia is the final option after all else has failed,” zoo spokeswoman Tanja Dietrich said earlier this week. Today, however, after a wave of media attention, Dietrich predicted a happy ending. “We're confident we'll find a place for him,” she said. Not in the tiger cage, presumably.