Gahh, all hail to hippo heroes! Guys, we are still beaming from Hippo Awareness Weekend, held Friday, February 13-Sunday, February 15.
We experienced a whole lotta #HippoLove with a record-setting donation total of $15,000 collected during the weekend’s festivities. The entire amount collected benefits the non-profit organization Turgwe Hippo Trust in Zimbabwe, Africa and the wild hippos that reside there.
“It’s truly inspiring to see our guests and our staff come together to raise conservation awareness and support for such a worthy cause,” said Vince Nicoletti, Executive Director and Vice President, Adventure Aquarium. “This donation comes at a time of desperate need as the Turgwe hippos are experiencing a severe drought which has affected the food supply in the area.”
Guests participated in the weekend’s conservation event and supported the cause in a variety of ways, including purchasing over 200 unique “kiss” paintings created by Button and Genny as well as bracelets and hippo foot cut-outs. The hippo residents also participated in a variety of enrichment sessions, showcasing their underwater skills as well as lively appetites.
“Genny and Button served as important ambassadors and were integral to the success of this weekend,” said Marc Kind, Director, Husbandry. “Not only did their artwork help raise monetary donations but they also reinforced the connection between our animals here at Adventure Aquarium and their wild counterparts. Whether it’s hippos, sharks, penguins or sea turtles, we are proud to connect families with a greater understanding of conservation awareness.”
Here are some more shots of the wild hippos in need that YOU helped! #BestGuestsOnThePlanet
The donation will go toward the purchase of food from now until December including hay, survival ration, game cubes and molasses, as well as transportation of supplies and other needs.
“On behalf of the Turgwe hippos, thank you so much to Adventure Aquarium for supporting us here in Africa,” said Karen Paolillo, Founder, Turgwe Hippo Trust. “Food is the first priority and with this generous donation we will be able to feed 21 hippos and other wildlife. We also hope to help fund game scouts who actively work to catch poachers in the area.”
Once again, THANK YOU! THANK YOU! THANK YOU! to everyone who donated. We’ll share updates on the hippos’ progress on the blog as well as social media and can’t wait to let you know how well they’re doing. We actually just received an email from Karen and she let us know the first shipment of hay should arrive around the first week of March! Yay for #HippoLove and #SavingTheHippos!
P.S. We’re looking forward to future conservation awareness weekends being held in 2016, including Sea Turtle Awareness Weekend (June 18 and 19) and African Penguin Awareness Weekend (Columbus Day Weekend, October 8-10). For more information on upcoming events, visit AdventureAquarium.com.