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Bizarre US 'hippo ranching' plan revealed

By T.K. Randall
December 23, 2013 · Comment icon 30 comments

A hippopotamus at Philadelphia Zoo. Image Credit: CC BY-SA 2.0 Art G
Hippopotamus ranching was almost introduced in the United States at the beginning of the 20th century.
Out of the many ideas proposed as a way to tackle the national meat shortage suffered by the United States in the early 1900s, the idea of introducing a thriving industry of hippopotamus ranching is perhaps the most bizarre.

The plan was to address two different problems head on, not only providing a new source of meat but also unblocking the nations waterways by having the animals feed on water hyacinth, an invasive species that was causing further ecological woes.
Despite numerous revisions of the idea, including the possibility of using ostriches or antelope in place of hippos, the plan was ultimately scrapped. Instead, efforts went in to engineering the land to better support a larger number of traditional farm animals, providing more meat for people to eat without resorting to the importing of exotic livestock.

"I think there's actually something beautiful about the idea that Congress would have a hearing on hippopotamus ranching," said writer Jon Mooallem. "It was this moment when anything seemed possible."

Source: Wired | Comments (30)




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Recent comments on this story
Comment icon #21 Posted by Neognosis 11 years ago
HAAA!!! Of course, we all know that there isn't really a serious plan to bring "hippo ranching" to the United States. I doubt this plan was ever serious, even during the time period the article says it was a thing.
Comment icon #22 Posted by Hawkin 11 years ago
Hippo burgers and Steaks. Now that would be Hip.
Comment icon #23 Posted by SameerPrehistorica 11 years ago
To solve some problem also,people want to kill animals. Not to mention,Hippopotamus killed more people in Africa than any other animal including the brutal Crocodiles.
Comment icon #24 Posted by Sir Wearer of Hats 11 years ago
only due to most people underestimating their territorial aggresion.. Only due to the fact they're completely insane.
Comment icon #25 Posted by Myles 11 years ago
Hippo burgers and Steaks. Now that would be Hip. If they do indeed breed and reproduce quickly, are inexpensive to raise and are a good source of meat, I'm all in. However, if it was a viable option, it would certainly already be happening in africa. I couldn't locate any info on raising Hippos on farms.
Comment icon #26 Posted by Duchess Gummybuns 11 years ago
Hippos are gonna be ranched? I better get my waterproof cowboy hat on.
Comment icon #27 Posted by jules99 11 years ago
I couldnt eat a hippo steak without thinking of how they do the tail propellor move...
Comment icon #28 Posted by lightly 11 years ago
yup sounds crazy , but .. "Hippo Ranching" has me seeing hippos herding people . Move !! you cantankerous, sidewindin, critters !
Comment icon #29 Posted by Hankenhunter 11 years ago
I'm sure that cattle at one time were extremely dangerous also.Selective breeding has turned them into the walking pantries they are today. Could genetic modification remove all aggression from hippos? Hank
Comment icon #30 Posted by HollyDolly 11 years ago
This is something I had never heard of. If you type in Camp Verde,Texas in Yahoo Google etc. you will find at Texas Escapes .com and other sites about the US Army in the 1800s bringing in camels to work in the desert southwest. Really interesting.They were here in Texas and Arizona.In fact years and years ago there was a movie about these army camels but don't recall the name of it.


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