Nation's Oldest Pygmy Hippo Celebrates 40th Birthday in San Diego

"Hannah Shirley" celebrated her 40th birthday with two parties at The Fund for Animals Wildlife Center in San Diego

By Joe Young
|  Sunday, Nov 24, 2013  |  Updated 9:55 AM PDT
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Turning 40 is a milestone for many, but for one little hippopotamus who lives in San Diego it was extra special.

"Hannah Shirley," a pygmy hippo, celebrated 40 years of life on Friday, Nov. 22, at the Fund for Animals Wildlife Center in San Diego's Ramona area.

Hannah is said to be the oldest living pygmy hippo in the United States.

She came to live at the wildlife center in 2002 after being discovered in a backyard of a private owner in Escondido, CA, according to the wildlife center's employees.

According to the San Diego Zoo, pygmy hippos are rare animals normally found in the forests of West Africa.

On Friday, Hannah's birthday festivities began at the center at around 9 a.m. with a breakfast where she presented with a few gifts. Later in the afternoon a dinner was held and Hannah was given a piñata filled with treats.

Accompanying Hannah at her birthday parties were six local children and their families. The children got the chance to come to the celebrations after winning a coloring contest held by the wildlife center.

So, what do you get the nation's oldest pygmy hippo for her birthday?

According to employees, for Hannah's big day she received a purple soccer ball (pictured above) and an arrangement of her favorite fruits.

Below is a video of Hannah frolicking around a swimming pool in 2012.

 

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