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Getting to Know the Animals of Mpala: Hippos

Jonah Hart interviewed our partners at Mpala in Kenya, and today he bring us this third installment of The Animals of Mpala… and it’s BIG!

As you know, we’ve recently launched our new African Wildlife Cams in partnership with the Mpala Research Centre in Lakipia, Kenya. We want our community to get to know these amazing animals that hang out at the Ewaso Ng’iro River that we see in the live cams. Today we’re getting to know some of the most regular visitors (and fan favorites!) of the aptly named Hippo Pool Cam and a species we hope all you Citizen Scientists out there pay close attention to: Hippos!

Not only will these guys give you some of your most entertaining pleasure viewing as they romp and play and interact in the mud, but they are also a species research scientists at Mpala are most excited to continuously view… and you can help by taking snapshots!

There is a pod of 25-26 Hippos who spend most of their time in the Hippo Pool and per the team at Mpala, we encourage our Citizen Scientists to take snapshots of any ‘behavior that seems strange or unusual’, so if you see any Hippos don tutus and start toe-tipping to Fantasia… start clicking. In all serious there are two areas of Hippo research the Mpala team believes the cams will really help. The first is inter-species behavior. Not much is known about how Hippos view and interact when other animal groups show up or ‘move-in’… in particular Elephants. How do the Hippos treat them? Take snapshots whenever you see the Hippos with other groups of animals.

The other area of research you can participate regards those adorable Hippo babies! Hippos hang out together, but a mother will go off by herself to have her baby. Not much is known about the process of re-integrating the baby with the pod. Documented cases of male Hippo aggression toward newborns are known, but believed to be rare. If you spot a baby Hippo interacting with other pod members, grab some shots for your cuteness file and for science!