A big, big baby has been born at Taronga Western Plains Zoo. The zoo is very excited by the birth of a hippo calf during the evening on September 11 2014. It is the first hippo bred at the zoo in over a decade.
The young calf has been estimated to be 40kg. Mum is being very protective though so keepers cannot accurately determine this or its gender.
Carolene Magner, a hippo keeper at the zoo said, “It’s very much early days still, so we are keeping a close eye on both mum and calf, but so far Cuddles is proving to be a good, attentive mother.”
This baby is incredibly significant as it is Cuddle’s and Mana’s first baby. Cuddle’s has only been at Western Plains Zoo for 18 months. Unfortunately in this time she has had another baby which did not survive.
Keepers believe that this will not happen this time around as they have witnessed bonding.
Magner added that, “Hippos nurse their young underwater and whilst we haven’t seen this behaviour, from everything we have witnessed the pair is bonding really well.”
Currently the young hippo stays stuck to mum’s side mostly swimming through the water.
It was a group of lucky visitors that saw the birth “Guests staying in the Zoo at Zoofari Lodge on Thursday night were the first lucky people to see the new arrival, just moments after it was born,” said Magner.
Magner also stated that, “Over the coming months we will start to see the calf grow and develop more and hopefully start to come out of the water with its mother at feed time.”
Visitors can see the baby when “the calf pop its head out of the water every now and then,” said Magner.
Photo Credit: Taronga Western Plains Zoo/ Anthony Dorian