ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – The ABQ BioPark is celebrating the birthday of one of its oldest residents. Moe the hippo turns 50 on Friday.

The BioPark shared a video of Moe chomping down on a celebratory birthday pumpkin with “50” carved into it. BioPark officials say the median life expectancy for hippos is 36.

In addition to the pumpkin, Moe was recently surprised with a new private pool behind the scenes for him and his family, which includes 22-year-old Karen and their two-year-old, Matilda. The BioPark says the pool is an important part of a geriatric wellness care plan to make sure Moe continues to live a comfortable life.

“This new pool gives the hippos more choice for where they want to be, in case they want more privacy,” says Bricker Thietten, an animal care specialist with the ABQ BioPark. “In addition, to help ease his joints, Moe receives pressure-wave therapy for age-related aches and arthritis discomfort. This is an innovative and voluntary non-invasive therapy that helps stimulate muscle and tissue recovery using ultrasonic waves.”

According to a press release, the new hippo pool was made possible by the 1/8-cent, voter-approved Gross Receipts Tax approved in 2016. Those funds have also gone towards behind-the-scenes maintenance and infrastructure improvements to the Penguin Chill habitat, as well as the Asia area which debuted in October 2023.