Adopt a wild hippo

Adopting a hippo for a year will help the Trust


During the horrendous drought of 1991/92, Karen Paolillo kept the last 13 Turgwe hippos alive. Jean-Roger Paolillo  built them a cemented pan and a water trough, as the Turgwe River dried up completely. Piping was laid to the nearest borehole over 18km away in order to fill the pan and the trough.
Karen Paolillo, the founder of the Trust, personally fed these hippos an amount of just under one ton of food each night, as there was no natural grazing left in the bush. At the end of the drought they were the only hippos left alive. All others either died or moved far away, never to return.
Since that time nearly 49 hippo calves have been born. At this moment there are 21 hippos living in the Turgwe River system around Hippo Haven.

By adopting one of the hippos in the two study groups, you will help us to implement a number of projects, which will ensure the long-term well being and survival of these Turgwe hippos. Some of the projects completed to date thanks to this adoption program are:

  • Building a second, larger cemented pan. Sinking two boreholes.
  • Buying all equipment to run the boreholes to the pans.
  • Maintaining existing weirs within the river system.
  • Keeping the pools open with a sand pump.
  • Saving two hippos sentenced to be shot as “crop raiders” in an African communal land, translocating them to the Conservancy.
  • Employing four game scouts and patrolling alongside them to remove wire snares set by poachers to kill the wild animals.
  • Feeding the hippos when needed like we did during five months in 2013 after a lack of grazing due to a localised drought and land taken over by cattle and human occupation.

Since year 2000, we have been heavily involved in keeping these hippos and all wildlife alive by daily patrolling the bush to remove wire snares set by poachers. Your adoption is instrumental in paying salaries for the game scouts, who help us in this anti-poaching task, as well as keeping the Trust’s vehicle on the road, and maintaining the Trust’s sand pump. Without this pump the hippos would not have pools during the dry season due to the heavy silting up of the Turgwe River.  Silting is because of human encroachment on riverbanks due to crop cultivation on or near riverbanks.  Or movement of domestic livestock causing erosion by overgrazing and movement to water sources.

When you adopt a Hippo you will receive via email:

  • Three photos of your hippo. An extra photo six months later and an extra bonus photo for a special occasion of your choice, birthday, holiday season, valentine, etc,
  • A video clip of your hippo,
  • A personalised certificate which you can print out,
  • Two updates about your hippo, one on adoption, and one six months later,
  • As well as a newsletter about the Turgwe Hippo Trust and a fact sheet about hippos.


Latest news from the Turgwe River:


Hi everyone, as you may or may not know the cost of living in Zimbabwe has sky rocketed.  So for the first time in two decades I am afraid I have to put up the price of a hippo adoption for new adopters.  Anyone renewing will still pay the old price. I do hope you will all understand that it is to help save the hippos and all the wildlife in the area of the Turgwe Hippo Trust.  We may have another drought for this year if so I will need even more help from you all, but  let us hope it will rain.

Love to you all Karen and the hippos xxx

When renewing a former adoption, your contribution will remain £35 or 40€ or $55 and it will last for one year.


For new adoption, your contribution will be £50 or 48€ or $65 and it will last also for one year.


How to adopt ? Few simple steps to process:

  • Step 1 : Make your choice of the hippo to adopt. You have a huge choice of different personalities. Choose your hippo
  • Step 2 : You will fill in the proposed form with all your details
  • Step 3 : We will redirect you to fostering payment page to choose currency then to PayPal for final step.
  • Step 4 : We will thank you as the process has been completed, and then you will receive the full adoption package.


Warning for Hotmail, Verizon and Comcast users:

Please, if you are adopting a hippo for the first time and if your email address is hosted with Hotmail orVerizon or Comcast, you will need to add the Trust’s email address (white list) :  ‘’  into your email address book before sending (receiving) your adoption.  We have found that those servers often block the Trust’s attachments.

Many thanks

the Management.