The zoo welcomed the pair back home after their stay at the Dickerson Park Zoo in Missouri.

Zambezi and Kasi, a pair of Nile hippo sisters, have returned to their home at the Cheyenne Mountain Zoo. They'd been on a three-and-a-half-year "sabbatical" in Springfield, Missouri, visiting at Dickerson Park Zoo as their habitat, "Water’s Edge: Africa," was rebuilt into a new and improved area.

The sisters returned home just in time for Memorial Day weekend!

The journey was a massive undertaking, as each hippo weighs over 3,000 pounds. It took specialized equipment and a whole team of people to keep the hippos safe and healthy on the over 700-mile trip. The hippos were transported on a semi-truck, each in their own special steel-framed crate. Moving almost four tons of animal is a pretty delicate task, and staff at both zoos have been working for the last three years to get the hippos ready for the journey. 

"This isn't their first road trip, but it's been three and a half years since their last transport, so we don't make any assumptions about how smoothly things will go," said Jeremy Dillon, Animal Care Manager for the habitat at CMZ. "Transporting nearly four tons of hippopotamus is risky, no matter how many times you've done it. Since they arrived at Dickerson Park Zoo, back in 2016, they've been preparing for this trip home - and so have we."

The zoo is closed to the public right now, but that gives the hippos some more time to get used to their new surroundings before it gets busy again.

Zambezi, 27, has lived at the Cheyenne Mountain Zoo since 1993, while her little sister, Kasai, 20, came to the zoo in 2001. Nile hippos are semi-aquatic and are native to sub-Sarahan Africa. The new habitat has nature trails, a huge hippo pool, obstacles, and plenty of ways for nature play.

Are you excited to go see the new habitat and welcome the hippo sisters home? Sound off in the comments.