We are sad to share that London Zoo’s 27-year-old pygmy hippo, Nicky, died on the evening of Thursday 15 September 2022.
Of advancing age, Nicky was being treated for a range of health concerns, including kidney failure and aged-related arthritis, and had been under close observation for some months. Thanks to the dedicated care of ZSL’s veterinary team, alongside her keepers, Nicky’s conditions have remained manageable, but on Thursday she took a turn for the worse.
Moving with great difficulty, Nicky showed no interest in any of her favourite foods and shied away from attention from her keepers - highly unusual for the affectionate animal, who always loved a friendly scratch behind the ear.
ZSL’s veterinary team gave Nicky anti-inflammatories to ease her discomfort, but her condition did not improve and by that evening it had become clear that her health issues had worsened; to prevent any future suffering, it was decided that the kindest outcome for Nicky was euthanasia.
Nicky was much loved by her keepers, the veterinary team, and all our visitors. Nicky had lived at ZSL London Zoo since 1997 and shared her Into Africa home with fellow pygmy hippo, Thug, who keepers will be making sure to give plenty of extra attention to over the coming days.
Following post-mortem, some of Nicky’s cells will be cryopreserved by our partners, Nature’s SAFE, so that her genetics can support in the future preservation of her species - which is classed as a priority for conservation action by ZSL’s EDGE (Evolutionary Distinct and Globally Endangered) Programme.