Hippo Tonga is ready for his African safari

Saint Martin La Plaine, France – An 11-year-old hippopotamus who suffered from neglect in a French circus is to be flown to South Africa, where it will start a new life in a wildlife reserve, an animal rights group said on Wednesday.

The French Animal Aid Foundation won a court order in February to have the nearly two-ton male hippo removed from the circus along with five lions, a tiger and five snakes.

The circus failed to provide proper veterinary care to the animals, which in the case of Tonga led to dental problems.

The Brigitte Bardot Foundation is picking up the cost of Tonga’s transfer by truck to Amsterdam, where it will be loaded onto a cargo plane for Johannesburg.

“Tonga will finally be released in the Sanwild wildlife sanctuary where it will enjoy proper care,” said Christophe Marie of the Brigitte Bardot Foundation. – Sapa-AFP