A ‘Hippopotamus for Christmas’ wish comes true in OKC

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OKLAHOMA CITY (KFOR) – Oklahoma City native Gayla Peevey has welcomed another hippopotamus to the city’s zoo, more than 60 years after her song about wanting one for Christmas helped the facility purchase its first.

In 1953 the then 10-year-old Peevey sang the novelty hit, “I Want a Hippopotamus For Christmas” on “The Ed Sullivan Show.”

That led to a statewide fund drive in which children donated change to purchase and bring the first hippo, Matilda, to the Oklahoma City Zoo.

The singer was on hand last Saturday as 26-year-old pygmy hippopotamus, Francesca, made her first Oklahoma public appearance since moving from the San Diego Zoo.

“I had no idea that 64 years after that record came out that it would still be going. In fact, stronger than ever. It’s had a resurgence,” said Peevey.

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