Hippo Reflection (Jessica the Hippo)


While I believe that hippos are extremely interesting due to their amazing physical adaptions, I do recognize that they tend to have a terrible reputation. Hippos are known to be one of the most aggressive animals on our planet, as a statistic suggested that they kill over 500 humans a year. This is terrible! However, after learning about hippos in this class, I can infer that from their physical adaptions, they might actually be genetically inclined to be aggressive. I believe that knowledge on how their social structure, fluctuations in territorial behavior during seasonal changes as well as awareness of general hippo behavior is important when learning about what hippos are truly like. This is why I do not agree with the use of Jessica as an educational tool.  


Jessica the hippo represents a hippo that does not show these natural characteristics of aggressive behavior. I believe that this can be inherently dangerous to the public, because it spotlights hippos as docile, playful, and trusting. This anthromorphism can be misinterpreted by the public, and may perhaps mislead them into believing that all hippos are like Jessica the hippo. In addition, a quick Google search evidently shows that the media has taken an interest in Jessica, suggesting that many people are aware of who Jessica is. I believe this media hype inadvertently contributes to the idea that any animal in the wild can be a pet.  While I am very happy that the owners of Jessica have taken her in instead of letting her die, I believe that it is also important for the owners to also acknowledge what hippos are truly like in the wild, thus painting a realistic side of what hippos are like to the public.