Disney’s Animal Kingdom is delighted to announce the birth of a Nile Hippopotamus, the first Hippo born at the park in 13 years.
Born on January 13 at approximately 10 p.m., the calf is staying close to mom Tuma. The animal care team is giving Tuma and her calf plenty of room to nurse and bond, so the calf’s gender and weight may not be known for some time. Typically, a newborn Hippo calf weighs between 60 and 110 pounds.
Adult Hippos weigh 2,500-3,300 pounds. They are the world’s third-largest type of land mammal. Hippos reside near water, often spending the day submerged and leaving the water at night to graze on grasses. They live in groups of a few dozen animals. The mouth, the position of which is an important communication tool among members of a bloat (group of Hippos), can open to 180 degrees.
Hippos can hold their breath for several minutes before surfacing to breathe. If a Hippo is asleep underwater, it remains asleep as it rises to the surface to breathe.
Tuma and her mate Henry were chosen to breed through the Species Survival Plan (SSP), which is overseen by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums. According to the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), the Nile Hippopotamus is a Vulnerable species with a declining population. This birth is an important contribution to the worldwide conservation and understanding of these creatures.