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HIPPOS: San Diego Zoo's Funani meets Otis from Los Angeles Zoo

February 14, 2009 |  8:12 am

Funani and Jazi, one of Funani's offspring by Jabba.

Funani, the female hippo at the San Diego Zoo, met her new partner, Otis, a transfer from the Los Angeles Zoo, on Friday morning, anxious zoo officials announced.

The hope is that Funani and Otis produce offspring. Funani, 24, has three surviving offspring by Jabba (all of whom, once they got big, were sent to other zoos).

In hopes of strengthening the gene pool, Jabba was swapped to the Los Angeles Zoo for Otis, who is 34 years old and a trim 4500 pounds. Otis arrived earlier this week in San Diego.

His first meeting with Funani in the Ituri Forest exhibit brought a bit of rough play, zoo officials said. Funani chased Otis from the pool. Otis refused to back down. Both opened their mouths and banged into each other.

"This is typical hippotamus dominance behavior," said animal care supervisor Matt Akel.

--Tony Perry, San Diego

Photo: Funani and Jazi, one of Funani's offspring by Jabba. Now Jabba has been traded to the Los Angeles Zoo for Otis. Credit: Los Angeles Times.

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