Tom Sears

Pygmy hippos

In 2014 the pygmy hippos got a new home at the zoo and I developed some African-inspired exhibitions to complement them. This project included a trip to Sierra Leone to hang out in the forest with some local hippo conservationists. As well as researching stories to bring back for zoo visitors, I gave my trip photos to the graphic designer, so the look and feel of the whole exhibit is inspired by the patterns, landscapes and hand-painted signs of Sierra Leone. This exhibit also includes a ‘self portrait’ by the male hippo, created in his own dung - to show how hippos mark their territory by spraying shit, I stenciled a canvas and got Thug to let loose all over it! The process even featured on ITV's documentary The Zoo.