RAMONA (CBSLA) — North America’s oldest living pygmy hippo, Hannah Shirley, celebrated her 47th birthday at San Diego Humane Society’s Ramona Wildlife Center Thursday with a Zoom party and cake.
Her birthday celebration included a cake made from her favorite grains, fruit and veggies all held together with pumpkin puree, as well as cucumber-melon water in a big bucket.
The San Diego Humane Society shared a video on Twitter of Hannah Shirley chowing down on her birthday treat.
Happy Birthday, Hannah Shirley! @sdhumane’s beloved ambassador pygmy hippo celebrates her 47th birthday! Her wildlife friends surprised her with socially distanced well-wishes via Zoom and a cake made of out of her favorite grains, fruit and veggies! ❤️ pic.twitter.com/6fHh3tj5pl
— San Diego Humane Society (@sdhumane) December 17, 2020
The hippo’s caretakers set up a “living room” in her habitat, with pumpkin goodies, photos of her friends — including other sanctuary animals — a Zoom feed and a number of enrichment stations.
Hannah Shirley is one of 24 ambassador animals at the wildlife center.
She has lived there since 2002 after she was discovered in a residential backyard in Escondido.
“Because it is so rare for a pygmy hippo to live beyond 40 years, we value each day with Hannah Shirley here at the Ramona Wildlife Center,” said Andy Blue, campus director at San Diego Humane Society’s Ramona Wildlife Center. “Watching staff love on her and treat her like a queen every day warms my heart. We are so lucky to have such a unique animal in our care.”
Hannah Shirley, who weighs about 500 pounds, is said to enjoy a pampered life that includes back rubs, sprinkler showers and lots of food-related enrichment activities.
(© Copyright 2020 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. City News Service contributed to this report.)