A 32-year-old hippopotamus in Taiwan died on Monday after suffering two injuries last week. On Friday, the hippo had jumped out of a truck that was carrying it to a farm in central Taiwan, after which the animal suffered injuries including a broken leg and broken teeth.
On Saturday, the hippo had another accident when the container in which it was being moved was accidentally dropped, according to Agence France-Presse (AFP). Taiwan’s agriculture minister Chen Bao-ji criticized the owner of the hippo -- named “A Ho” -- for not being careful enough with the animal. He also said that a post mortem report will be done on the mammal to determine the cause of death while the government decides if the owner could be prosecuted.
"The city government has asked prosecutors to look into the case," Chen Ming-hui, a local official, told AFP, adding that the ranch has been asked to explain what steps it would take to improve the management of the place. If the owner is prosecuted, he could face jail of up to a year, according to Taiwan’s animal protection laws.
“The animal was not properly protected during the transportation process, leading to its injuries. What’s worse, it had not received due medical treatment the last two days," Chu Tseng-hung, head of the nonprofit Environment and Animal Society of Taiwan, said, according to AFP.
The Taipei City Zoo said in an autopsy report, according to The Wall Street Journal, that the hippo’s death was caused after the two falls led to its lungs dropping to its abdominal area because of a torn diaphragm. The photographs of the mammal after its fall on Friday quickly circulated on social media.
The hippo had been under the care of Skyzoo for 12 years and was recently being kept at Miaoli, in the country's northwest, while its habitat was being refurbished. Skyzoo has also been criticized by activists who claim that it does not provide proper medical care to its animals.
“We can’t possibly confiscate all animals when the owners don’t follow the rules,” Lin said, according to the Journal, adding: “The owners have to fulfill their own responsibility as the caretakers of the animals.”