Follow the wallow with hippo Zusha
By BRENDAN DELFINO
WHILE Zusha the performing hippopotamus was busy rehearsing yesterday for her first show on Friday for 6,000 underprivileged children, animal welfare groups were looking forward to inspecting the living conditions for many of the 97 animals with the Moscow Circus.
The 13-year-old, 2.5-tonne Zusha is the first hippo in the territory and has already passed an initial inspection by the Agriculture and Fisheries Department - along with her fellow creatures housed in cages outside the Hong Kong Coliseum, Hunghom.
The department's senior veterinary officer, Dr Barry Bousfield, said 19 performing dogs would remain in quarantine during their stay and would be escorted to and from the Coliseum by department officers.
RSPCA officials hope to see the endangered species which have been bred in captivity on Monday.
Dr Bousfield said officers would monitor final dress rehearsals today. He said examinations of Zusha had revealed a cataract or lesion in her right eye.
'It could be age-related or genetic . . . but it should not impair her ability to do tricks too much,' Dr Bousfield said. 'She is very tame and well looked after.' The hungry hippo has her own pool and eats about 50 kilograms of vegetables, hay and fruit every day.