The Delhi High Court issued an order directing the Centre to take a decision on framing rules to confer protection for exotic animals that are currently not under the purview of the Wildlife (Protection) Act, 1972.
- The court’s order came in response to a petition filed by animal rights group, People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) India about the status of a male hippopotamus rescued from the Asiad Circus in Uttar Pradesh.
- The court directed that the hippo be permanently kept in a spacious facility in Jamnagar, Gujarat.
- The hippo was in the company of a rescued female hippopotamus and was receiving expert veterinary care.
- The facility met the Central Zoo Authority’s Guidelines on Minimum Dimensions of Enclosures for Housing Exotic Animals of Different Species and recommended that the facility be allowed to provide the hippopotamus with lifelong care.
- Hippopotamus is a large, mostly herbivorous, semiaquatic mammal and ungulate native to sub-Saharan Africa.
- It is one of only two extant species in the family Hippopotamidae, the other being the pygmy hippopotamus.
- After the elephant and rhinoceros, the hippopotamus is the third-largest type of land mammal and the heaviest extant artiodactyl.
- Despite their physical resemblance to pigs and other terrestrial even-toed ungulates, the closest living relatives of the Hippopotamidae are cetaceans from which they diverged about 55 million years ago.