A pygmy hippo which started turning up his snout at food has been given a helping hand to start eating again.
Chico worried keepers at his home in Heythrop Zoological Gardens when he began to refuse food.
Chico chomps happily on his favourite carrot sticks fed to him by Gloria
But the little animal was lured back to his trough under the watchful eye of Gloria, a hand puppet based on the star character in DreamWorks children's film Madagascar.
Chico was refusing to eat until he met his new puppet playmate
Zoo keepers at the private zoo near Chipping Norton in Oxfordshire said they had been 'trying everything' to tempt the fussy eater back to his meals when they stumbled across the hippo glove puppet in a supermarket promotion.
Now keepers don the puppet to hand feed the diminutive hippo, a relative of the larger hippopotamus on whom Gloria is based, his favourite carrot treats.
Despite his portly appearance, Chico had stopped feeding and was in danger of losing weight.
In the wild, pygmy hippos can spend up to six hours a day eating, and need to consume one-and-a-half percent of their body weight every day to stay healthy.
Head keeper, Michael Howes, was desperate to find a way to encourage the animal start eating, when he saw Gloria the Hippo being given away with Persil during a shopping trip.
As a last resort he decided to use the toy to try to lure Chico to tuck back in.
'We had been trying everything as Chico was refusing to feed and when I saw the Madagascar hippo puppet in the supermarket I thought I'd give it a try,' Mr Howes said.
'We were extremely surprised when he took a liking to Gloria and we have been using it to feed him ever since.'
Now Chico loves supper time
Chico the hungry pygmy hippo gets a helping hand (puppet) to re-discover his appetite | Mail Online