Located in the middle of ZOO Antwerp (Belgium) is Hippotopia, now open for visitors. This biotope for hippopotamuses, Dalmatian pelicans, Malaysian tapirs and river rats has undergone quite a renovation. Visitors can now see the animals better, and the boundary between animal habitat and visitors has been downplayed.
A wooden walkway leads visitors through the swamp in which hippos, Dalmatian pelicans and river rats swim. For the river rats, this is a new home, including their indoor enclosure in a historic cave with its waterfall. The group of nine animals will eventually be increased to include 35. There will be plenty to see!
A group of seven Dalmatian pelicans can be seen bobbing in one of the ponds. These young birds come from France. The pelicans can choose to stay in their own pond or go to the hippo pond. Also created at the swamp is an outdoor habitat for tapirs. This young couple—female Nakal and male Kamal—is nearly sexually mature. Naturally, the ZOO is hoping for offspring.
Renovations for the hippos are less obvious. The floor of their indoor enclosure has been replaced, and new filters have been installed in the pools. Blocks of lava, along with water plants, now clean and filter the water naturally.