Auckland Zoo says it may take years before it can replace its last hippo, Faith, who died earlier this week.
Strict importation laws make it a challenging process, but the zoo says it's already making plans.
Faith passed away on Tuesday and autopsy results show she suffered from bleeding in the lung.
Her death comes just months after her son, Fudge, died.
"Auckland Zoo's last two remaining hippos were born here - Faith in 1975 and Fudge in 1988," says Auckland Zoo director Jonathan Wilcken.
Now there are no hippos, and the zoo will have to develop a new health import standard to get more.
But it's not that simple; once created, the standard needs to be accepted by the Ministry of Primary Industries.
"It's very difficult for us right now to bring in new hippos immediately. There are really stringent bio-security rules that protect New Zealand," says Mr Wilcken.
The zoo says it's working toward a proposal to make this happen and it's worked for other animals in the past.
"We are working with the Government to work up some new quarantine protocols for hippos and that will take us a few years," says Mr Wilcken.