OKC Zoo announces death of pygmy hippo Francesca

OKLAHOMA CITY -- Back in December, Oklahoma City welcomed Francesca to the zoo family. The 26-year-old hippo joined 43-year-old Wolee in the pygmy hippopotamus exhibit.

“Francesca came to our Zoo last December and she came from San Diego. She was originally born in Rome,” said Eddie Witte, curator of small mammals.

Zoo staff said Francesca was a fan favorite,  she loved people and loved to be trained but that all changed Wednesday morning.

“Unfortunately, this morning we came out here straight away and found out that she passed. She looked like she kind of fallen asleep,” said Witte.

Francesca's appetite started to change last week, an animal known for always being hungry staff said Franny couldn't finish a meal.
After an exam, the veterinary staff noticed she was lethargic and she showed signs of abdominal pain. It was discovered that she had a dental disease with a possible bacterial infection. She was treated with medicine but nothing seemed to work.

“We let the vets know and it just kind of kept regressing and the vets just kept trying to treat her for gastrointestinal and she didn`t respond to the treatment,” said Witte

At one point her symptoms looked to be getting better however she again regressed.

“She only been here a few months and she already been one of our favorite animals out her, she was just so personable and she really liked being around people,” said Witte.

The staff will do a full necropsy on Francesca to determine her exact cause of death.  For now Wolee will be the only the pygmy hippo at the zoo.



Caretakers say she will be dearly missed.