SAN ANTONIO — Love is in the air at the San Antonio Zoo.
Even though Timothy the Hippo’s Twitter profile still says “single,” Timothy has proclaimed his love for Fiona, a 3-year-old hippo living at the Cincinnati Zoo.
The long-distance love affair has taken off on social media, a campaign launched by the zoos to help raise awareness for hippo conservation.
The hippos recently sending each other Edible Arrangement birthday bouquets and posting the love on social media.
Recent posts on Timothy’s Twitter show the 4-year-old hippo splashing through the water, showing off his “dolphin skills" to spectators dining at the San Antonio Zoo for Valentine’s Day.
Timothy’s crew even got country music superstar Aaron Watson on board, with a special song and serenade to Fiona.
Angela Garza is the senior animal care specialist at the San Antonio Zoo, and is one of Timothy's primary caretakers.
“He loves meeting people,” Garza said. “He loves to eat, and he’s just got a very playful personality. He’s very curious, he likes to investigate things, and likes to come up to the glass.”
Garza is referring to the facility at the zoo where the windows are partially submerged underwater, giving spectators a clear view of what’s swimming under the water, including Timothy.
At 2,400 pounds, Timothy is still a boy, sharing the habitat with his grandmother Uma, who’s in her 40s.
Timothy and Fiona have captured the hearts of people all over the world, something Garza said helps get the public excited about the hippos.
“It’s actually very important that we get that love story out there because it’s another reason to raise awareness for the hippos,” she said.
Garza said hippos are native to Africa, but the numbers of those still living in the wild are diminishing.
“These guys have to worry about things like deforestation and poaching because their teeth are made of ivory. They’re actually victims of the ivory trade,” Garza said.
She the life expectancy of a hippo is about 35 to 40 years, but inside a zoological environment, they can live anywhere from 10 to 15 years longer.
“She doesn't have to worry about her water drying up. She doesn't have to worry about where her next meal's coming from, and, also, she doesn't have to worry about things like poachers,” Garza added.
As we witnessed firsthand on Sunday, Timothy takes a liking to most people...but his heart belongs to Fiona.
“People love it. It's one of those things that kind of took off and it's hard not to enjoy. It's super adorable. How can you resist it?” Garza said.
It’s a match made in hippo heaven.