1. Fiona the hippo
Fiona is arguably the world’s most famous hippo.
She has merchandise bearing her name and likeness, videos of her rack up millions of views, and she even has an ice cream flavour named after her, the “Chunky Chunky Hippo”.
But when she was born six weeks premature on January 24, 2017 at the Cincinnati Zoo, her keepers weren’t sure she was going to survive.
She weighed just 13 kilograms and had to be hooked up to oxygen tubes.
She received round-the-clock care and every update was posted on social media, quickly turning her into a star and a symbol of resilience.
2. Sir Nils Olav the king penguin
Sir Nils Olav, a resident of Edinburgh Zoo, is the only knighted penguin in the world, having received the honour in 2008.
A Norwegian family presented the zoo with its first king penguin in 1913.
The current Nils Olav is actually the third penguin to bear the name, since penguins only live about 15 years. He’s named after Major Nils Egelien, who organised the adoption in 1972, and the then-King of Norway, King Olav.
He’s also an honorary member of the King of Norway’s guard and was promoted to the title of Brigadier in August 2016.
3. Diego the giant tortoise
Diego is certainly doing more than his fair share of work to preserve his species; the over 100-year-old giant tortoise has sired anywhere between 350 and 800 progenies.
Diego was formerly from the San Diego Zoo but was returned to the Galapagos in 1977 to the Charles Darwin Research Station.
The species was declared critically endangered in the 1960s when there were only two males and 12 females left in the wild.
Suffice it to say that the species is no longer threatened. Way to go, Diego!