Osaka Zoo Discovers Male Hippo Is Actually Female After 28 Years

Osaka zoo discovers its resident hippo Gen-chan is actually female after 28 years, highlighting challenges in accurately identifying animal sex.

Rizwan Shah
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Osaka Zoo Discovers Male Hippo Is Actually Female After 28 Years

Osaka Zoo Discovers Male Hippo Is Actually Female After 28 Years

The Osaka Tennoji Zoo in Japan has made a surprising discovery about one of its resident hippopotamuses. Gen-chan, a hippo that has lived at the zoo for 28 years and was thought to be male, is actually female. The revelation came after zookeepers noticed that Gen-chan did not display typical male hippo behaviors and decided to conduct a DNA test.

Gen-chan arrived at the Osaka Tennoji Zoo in 2017 from the Africam Safari animal park in Mexico. The customs documents at the time identified the hippo as male. However, as Gen-chan grew older, zookeepers observed that the hippo was not exhibiting behaviors characteristic of male hippos, such as making courtship calls to females or splattering feces to mark territory.

Unable to visually identify any male genitalia, the zoo requested a DNA test to determine Gen-chan's sex definitively. The results confirmed that the 12-year-old hippo is indeed female. "We conducted a DNA test and found that Gen-chan is actually a female," a zoo spokesperson stated.

The zoo has acknowledged the importance of accurately confirming the sex of the animals in their care. They have stated that they will ensure such mistakes do not happen again in the future. Despite the surprising revelation, the zoo has confirmed that Gen-chan will not be getting a name change.

Why this matters: This story highlights the challenges zoos face in accurately identifying the sex of certain animal species. It also underscores the importance of ongoing observation and scientific testing to ensure the well-being and proper care of animals in captivity.

Gen-chan, who is now known to be a 12-year-old female hippo, will continue to reside at the Osaka Tennoji Zoo. The zoo has stated that they will provide a comfortable environment for Gen-chan and encourages visitors to come and see the hippo. "We will continue to take good care of Gen-chan and hope that visitors will come to see her," the zoo spokesperson said.

Key Takeaways

  • Osaka zoo's hippo Gen-chan, thought male, is actually female.
  • DNA test revealed 12-year-old Gen-chan's true sex after 28 years.
  • Gen-chan's behavior did not match typical male hippo traits.
  • Accurate animal sex identification is crucial for proper care.
  • Zoo will continue caring for female Gen-chan and encourage visitors.