REMEMBER the story about the Stockton Hippo?
Well, news that hippos once roamed the streets of Stockton has certainly captured the public’s imagination.
And now Wynyard Woodland Park – close to where a fossilised hippopotamus tooth was found in 1958 – has created a permanent tribute.
A 3.6m long sculpture of a hippo skeleton created by artist Andrew McKeown has been installed in the adventure play area.
Modelled in clay then cast in stone, it is set within the sand pit where it can be unearthed by visitors.
The discovery was just four miles north-west of Stockton – making it the most northerly place on the planet in which the hippopotamus is known to have lived.
It was identified as a molar tooth belonging to a Hippopotamus amphibius, the same species of hippo that lives in Africa today.
Councillor Norma Wilburn, Stockton-on-Tees Borough Council’s Cabinet Member for Arts, Leisure and Culture, said: “With its beautiful surroundings, Wynyard Woodland Park is a perfect place to install the sculpture. It is an attractive tourist spot for people of all ages, and this will only encourage more people to visit.”
A special guest at the unveiling was Susan Symmonds, who has made it her goal to find the tooth and solve the mystery of the ‘Stockton hippo’.
Susan would love to hear from anybody who knows exactly where the tooth was found, or who found it. If you can help her, email [email protected]
Interested in this story? You can find out more fascinating ‘Stockton hippo’ facts in this interview with Professor Danielle Schreve from Royal Holloway, University of London.