A baby Hippo has made its debut splash in the public pool at ZSL Whipsnade Zoo. Born on September 14 2011, and weighing in at a hefty 90 pounds (40kg), the baby has so far been staying with mum in their private dens, but last month made its first appearance in the big pool. The “tiny” tot is thought to be a little girl, but its sex is yet to be confirmed. In the meantime, keepers have nicknamed the youngster Hula – an abbreviation of dad’s name, Hoover, and mum’s, Lola. Zookeeper Mark Holden said: “We’re really excited by this new arrival at the Zoo, especially as both mum and dad are first-time parents - and Lola seems besotted with her new arrival.”
“After taking a few tentative steps on the water’s edge, baby Hula was encouraged into the pool by mum, and is now enjoying blowing bubbles under the surface and paddling around by herself”. Born after a 240-day gestation period baby Hula will one day weigh approx. 3090 lbs (1400kg) when she’s fully grown, and reach up to 1.6 metres in height. Classed as Vulnerable by the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species, and under threat from poaching and habitat loss in the wild, Hula is a much welcomed addition to the European Studbook for common Hippos.