Posted on 05th May 2020 by Media Relations
Keepers at Taronga Western Plains Zoo are delighted by the safe arrival of a male Hippopotamus calf, born in the early hours of the morning on Wednesday 15 April 2020. The calf is the third offspring for mother, Cuddles and father, Mana.
Keepers had been monitoring Cuddles closely in the latter stages of her pregnancy in anticipation of the impending birth.
“Cuddles started to show signs that the calf may come early, so it was certainly a wonderful moment to see the calf beside mum two weeks prior to her due date,” said Hippopotamus Keeper Carolene Magner.
The calf was born in the shallow water of the Zoo’s Hippo Lake. Female Hippos will often select shallow water to give birth as a calf can only hold its breath for approximately 30 seconds at birth.
“The calf is doing really well and staying close by mum’s side, both in and out of the water,” said Carolene.
“Cuddles is a very nurturing mother and is very protective yet also very calm. She is an experienced mother and is bonding well with her calf.”
Hippos nurse their young underwater. Cuddles and the calf have been spending most of their days in the shallow waters of Hippo Lake and are currently separated from the other Hippos.
“The calf has been coming out of the water with Cuddles occasionally and is getting steadier on his feet whilst on land, as they do spend most of their time resting in the water,” said Carolene.
Over the coming weeks the calf will start to mouth at hay and grass like its mother and be more active in the water. He will also become more curious about his environment.
The Hippo calf is yet to be named. An announcement will be made soon about how members of the public can help choose a name for the new arrival.