Securing a shared future for wildlife and people

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Anthony Dorian
Hippo calf at Taronga Western Plains Zoo

Taronga Western Plains Zoo is excited to announce the birth of a Hippo calf to mother Cuddles and father Mana, in the evening on Thursday 11 September 2014.

This birth is very significant, as this is the first calf for Cuddles and Mana, creating a new genetic bloodline. Cuddles has been at Taronga Western Plains Zoo for 18 months and during this time has given birth to another calf but unfortunately it did not survive. 

“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,” said Hippo Keeper, Carolene Magner.

The calf weighs an estimated 40 kg. It is yet to be named and keepers are still to determine if it is a male or female as mum is being quite 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 Carolene.

Mother and calf are spending most of their time in the water with the calf staying close by mum’s side.

“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.”

“Currently mother and calf are in the middle paddock and pond just adjacent to the main Hippo Lake. Visitors can see the calf pop its head out of the water every now and then.”

“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,” said Carolene.