Taronga Western Plains Zoo’s female Hippo calf now has a name - Kibibi meaning ‘little lady’ in Swahili. Kibibi is now 11 weeks old and has more than doubled her weight since birth.
Kibibi is starting to come out of the water more regularly now, following her mother out at feed times. Cuddles is fed four times across the day, meaning keepers now see a lot of Kibibi and are starting to build a relationship with the calf as it grows and develops.
“Kibibi is becoming a regular at the daily Hippo keeper talk at 11:20am and is getting used to the attention from visitors who come to see her,” said keeper Carolene Magner.
“She is growing and developing quickly. Her tusks and teeth are starting to grow and are now approximately half a centimetre long. She is finding her legs too, often running up the bank at her mum’s feed time.”
Kibibi is becoming a little more independent and will occasionally wander away to explore while mum eats her hay.
“Already we have observed her starting to munch on some hay but she still relies on her mother’s milk and will continue to do so for at least the next year,” said Carolene.
“Kibibi is really growing in personality as well and will often bob her head up and down and yawn while waiting for mum, Cuddles to finish her hay. She is also becoming vocal, making deep grunting sounds.”
Hippo calves stay with their herd and nurse from their mother for approximately one year. In the wild females will have a calf every two years providing there are favourable conditions and adequate resources in the area to sustain the herd.