How do you pick up a hippopotamus? Ve-e-e-ry carefully ... and with a heavy-duty counterbalanced forklift.
Transporting live animals is both an art and a science, and it's never easy. Earlier this year, the Philadelphia Zoo faced an especially daunting challenge when it had to move Cindy and Unna, two hippos weighing about two tons each, to a new home elsewhere in the zoo. Although the animals only moved a short distance, zookeepers said, it took nine months to prepare for the two-hour operation, and the process to transport them was the same as if they had moved to another city.
The hippos were transferred in a crate measuring 15 feet long by 5 feet wide by 7 feet high. Once each was comfortably ensconced inside the container, a 17,500-pound-capacity Toyota forklift provided by United Rentals loaded the crate onto flatbed, which then drove out onto the street and back to the zoo through another entrance. The forklift driver then unloaded the crate and positioned it inside the animals' new enclosure, which features a large outdoor area and a pool. Hippos, zookeepers, and forklift reportedly are doing fine.