Joe Clawson, Director of the Louisiana Purchase Gardens & Zoo says, “It is with heavy hearts
that we announce the death of our beloved hippopotamus, Penelope. Penelope has been a
featured animal at our zoo since 1988. She was almost 32 years old. The life expectancy of a
hippo in captivity is 40-years-old. She died in her sleep yesterday. Autopsy results show she
died from a heart condition. We are all saddened to see Penelope go. We will keep our options
open for finding a companion for Monreaux, our five-year-old hippo.”
SPECIAL SIDESTORY ABOUT PENELOPE:
In 2005 American porcelain collector Richard Baron Cohen of the Royal Copenhagen Porcelain
Manufactory, commissioned a 144-piece dinner service called The Hippopotamus Service. It
was completed in 2006 and featured various images of hippos, among the more than 275
animals photographed at zoos and parks around the world.
Photographer Sarah Louise Galbraith, of Arizona, traveled to more than a hundred zoos in 33
countries to take more than 3,000 photos. Twelve hippos were selected from these images
including two from the United States, one in Salem, Oregon, and our hippo, Penelope, from the
Louisiana Purchase Gardens & Zoo. The selected dozen hippos were also placed on a calendar for
2007; and, Penelope appeared as the image for June 2007.
Galbraith subsequently sent a letter to the LPG & Zoo that included her business card that
featured Penelope’s image. In the letter Galbraith stated that she and Cohen had selected
Penelope as their favorite hippo due to her smile and sparkling eyes.