Taronga Western Plains Zoo is excited to announce the birth of a Hippo calf – the first in more than 10 years – on September 11 to mother Cuddles and father Mana.
Photo Credit: Anthony Dorian
Because this birth is the first for Cuddles and Mana, the calf represents a new genetic bloodline for the species and will be important for the zoo-managed population of Hippos.
The calf weighs an estimated 88 pounds (40 kg). It is yet to be named and keepers have not determined the calf's gender, becuase Cuddles is being very protective.
“Hippos nurse their young underwater and whilst we haven’t seen this behaviour, from everything we have witnessed the pair is bonding really well,” said Hippo Keeper Carolene Magner.
Hippos most of their days in the water, feeding on vegetation. For now, the calf stays close to its mother’s side.
Guests staying on the zoo’s Zoofari Lodge were able to see the calf just a few minutes after its birth.
Hippos once ranged throughout sub-Saharan Africa, but are now restricted to smaller, more fragmented habitats. They are listed as Vulnerable to Extinction by the International Union for Conservation of Nature.
See more photos of the Hippo calf below.