September 13, 2021 (COLORADO SPRINGS) – Cheyenne Mountain Zoo today announced the name of its baby hippo with a video featuring the calf’s mom, Zambezi [zam-BEE-zee] making the big reveal.
Keepers set up an extra-special breakfast of carrots, oranges and hay for Zambezi in the shape of her calf's new name. As the video plays in reverse, the baby’s name, Omo [OH-moh], is revealed!
CMZoo staff voted on the baby’s name and, like his mom and aunt, the baby was named after a river in Africa. The seasonal flooding of the Omo River is vital for food cultivation by the indigenous groups that live along it. Water conservation is an important focus of Water's Edge: Africa, where the hippos live at CMZoo, and the calf's name aims to inspire Zoo fans to take action to conserve water.
The International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List categorizes Nile hippopotamuses as a species vulnerable to extinction in the wild, estimating 125,000 to 150,000 remain in their native habitats. The primary threats are habitat loss and illegal and unregulated hunting. Hippos are hunted for their meat and for their ivory canine teeth.
Only 30 organizations accredited by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums in North America, including Cheyenne Mountain Zoo, house hippos. As first-time parents, Biko’s and Zambezi’s offspring represents an important contribution to the population of hippos in human care. The Nile Hippopotamus Species Survival Plan manages the population’s breeding recommendations to achieve the highest possible genetic diversity in the pool.