Thematic photo album for the Hippo Day - one of the largest modern terrestrials

The 15th of February 15 is celebrated as Hippo Day in many countries. (National Hippo Day). In the USA, this day is a national holiday. 
Translated from ancient Greek, the hippopotamus means "river horse." The ancient Greeks gave this name to a giant beast that lived in fresh water and was capable of making sounds that resembled a horse neighing. One of hippopotamus characteristic features is its semi-aquatic lifestyle - it spends most of the time in the water, stepping forward the firm land only at night for a few hours to feed. Hippopotamus is a large herbivorous mammal. It is one of the largest animals – a mature age male weight sometimes exceeds four tons, thus, the hippopotamus competes with rhinos for the second largest weight among terrestrials after elephants. Previously, pigs were considered the closest relatives of hippos, but now scientists believe that whales are their closest relatives.

Currently, hippopotamus lives only in sub-Saharan Africa, although in ancient times it was more widespread, living in North Africa (Egypt, modern Morocco and Algeria), and possibly was met in the Middle East , but by the early Middle Ages disappeared from these places. According to 2006 data, when International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) recognized the status of the hippopotamus as vulnerable, its abundance on the continent was estimated from 125,000 to 150,000 heads, while tending to decrease. This happens due to the fact that in African countries with struggling economy, the state is unable to establish adequate countermeasures against poaching. The indigenous population hunts hippos primarily for meat, so wars and instability in a number of countries on the continent; forcing starving people to seek food cause catastrophic damage to the hippo livestock population. The destruction of the habitat, inevitable with the growth of the population in Africa is a huge threat.

The behavior of the hippopotamus is characterized by unchecked aggression. Male hippo fights often result in the death of one of the participants. Cases of a hippopotamus attacking a person are also very frequent. The hippopotamus, according data evidence, is the most dangerous beast for humans in Africa - much more people die from its attacks than from the attacks of lions, buffaloes or leopards. The symbolism of hippopotamus is associated with strength and courage, calmness during a crisis, the maternal instinct and the ability to cope with its emotions.

Numerous figurines of hippos and their calves are produced from a wide variety of materials all over the world. For the Hippo Day, we have posted  thematic album with items from the collection section “Lapidary works of Art”.

On the cover: Figure of hippopotamusGermany, Idar-Oberstein, the 20th century. Paul Dreher