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Louise the hippo settles into refurbished home at Honolulu Zoo


    Louise the hippo in her improved habitat at the Honolulu Zoo.

The Honolulu Zoo says that Louise the hippopotamus returned to her newly renovated habitat earlier this week, and appears to be happy in her upgraded Waikiki digs.

The hippo habitat — which underwent $3.5 million in improvements — now features an upgraded barn and filtration system that cycles the 40,000-gallon pond every 20 minutes. The new filtration system can handle hundreds of pounds of waste every day, city officials said, keeping the water clean for Louise to enjoy, and enabling visitors to see her more clearly.

“Making major improvements to the hippo habitat was a priority for the Honolulu Zoo, and I’m glad that Louise is happy in her refurbished home,” said Mayor Kirk Caldwell in a news release. “The zoo continues to make enormous progress under the leadership of director Linda Santos and the future promises to be very exciting for her and the zoo’s dedicated staff.”

Louise, 27, came to the Honolulu Zoo in 1992 from the Denver Zoological Gardens.

“We are very happy that all of the technical and physical improvements for the hippo exhibit are finally complete,” said zoo director Linda Santos. “I want to thank the zoo staff for their tremendous efforts in successfully and safely returning Louise to her home so the public can enjoy visiting her once again.”

Hippos are semi-aquatic vegetarians, the zoo said, and eat as much as 80 pounds or more of grass every day in the wild. They generally live well into their 40s.

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