Keepers at Zoo Wroclaw put on their dancin’ shoes to celebrate a new Hippopotamus birth! The calf, named Zumba, was born May 21 to mom, Rumba, and dad, Váleček. Big sister, Salsa, and proud Grandma, Samba, also welcomed the young Hippo into their herd.
The Zoo reports that Zumba timidly follows mom about in their exhibit, including, of course, dips in the pool.
The common Hippopotamus (Hippopotamus amphibius), or Hippo, is a large, mostly herbivorous, semi-aquatic mammal native to sub-Saharan Africa. They are one of only two extant species in the family Hippopotamidae, the other being the Pygmy Hippopotamus (Choeropsis liberiensis or Hexaprotodon liberiensis).
The name comes from the ancient Greek for "river horse" (ἱπποπόταμος). After the elephant and rhinoceros, the common Hippopotamus is the third-largest type of land mammal and the heaviest extant artiodactyl. Despite their physical resemblance to pigs and other terrestrial even-toed ungulates, the closest living relatives of the Hippopotamidae are cetaceans (Whales, Porpoises, etc.).
Common Hippos are recognizable by their barrel-shaped torsos, wide-opening mouths revealing large canine tusks, nearly hairless bodies, columnar-like legs and large size; adults average 1,500 kg (3,300 lb) and 1,300 kg (2,900 lb) for males and females respectively, making them the largest species of land mammal after the three species of Elephants and the White and Indian Rhinoceros.
Despite its stocky shape and short legs, it is capable of running 30 km/h (19 mph) over short distances. The Hippopotamus is highly aggressive and unpredictable and is ranked among the most dangerous animals in Africa.
Female Hippos reach sexual maturity at five to six years and have a gestation period of eight months. Baby Hippos are born underwater at a weight between 25 and 50 kg (55 and 110 lb) and an average length of around 127 cm (4.17 ft), and must swim to the surface to take their first breaths. A mother typically gives birth to only one calf, although twins also occur.
The young often rest on their mothers' backs when the water is too deep for them, and they swim under water to suckle. They suckle on land when the mother leaves the water. Weaning starts between six and eight months after birth, and most calves are fully weaned after a year.
Hippopotamus amphibius is classified as “Vulnerable” on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. According to the IUCN: “The primary threats to Common Hippos are illegal and unregulated hunting for meat and ivory (found in the canine teeth) and habitat loss. Illegal or unregulated hunting of Common Hippos has been found to be particularly high in areas of civil unrest (Kayanja 1989; Shoumatoff 2000; Hillman Smith et al. 2003). A recent field survey found that Common Hippo populations in DR Congo have declined more than 95% as a result of intense hunting pressure, during more than eight years of civil unrest and fighting (Hillman Smith et al. 2003). Widespread poaching for meat has also been reported from Burundi and Ivory Coast (Associated Press 2003; H. Rainey pers. comm.)...Although it is likely that the majority of the total Common Hippo population occurs in some form of protected area (national park, biosphere, game or forest reserve, sanctuary, conservation area), the proportion of protected Common Hippos likely varies among countries. For countries with a high proportion of Common Hippo populations outside protected areas, the likelihood of persistence is much lower as there is no impediment to hunting or incentive for habitat protection.”
More great pics, below the fold!