Hippo

Life Is Going Swimmingly for New Hippo Calf

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The San Diego Zoo welcomed a newborn Hippopotamus calf to its Lost Forest habitat on September 22.

The curious baby is reported to be healthy and is staying close to mother, Funani. This is the 12th calf born to Funani and father, Otis. Keepers will give the calf a name when they are able to confirm the sex. For now, guests of the San Diego Zoo can hope to catch a glimpse of the baby with Funani during normal operating hours.

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3_SDZ Hippo calfPhoto Credits: San Diego Zoo

The Common Hippopotamus (Hippopotamus amphibius), or Hippo, is a large, mostly herbivorous and aggressive mammal native to sub-Saharan Africa. It is one of only two extant species in the family Hippopotamidae, the other being the Pygmy Hippopotamus (Choeropsis liberiensis or Hexaprotodon liberiensis).

Although the Hippo is currently only classified as “Vulnerable” on the IUCN Red List, their habitat has been greatly reduced over the last 200 years. Even more devastating to Hippo populations is the current trade in illegal ivory. Following the 1989 ban on Elephant ivory, demand for Hippo ivory has sharply increased. The large canines that Hippos use to protect themselves are made of the same material as Elephants’ tusks. In fact, they are slightly softer and easier to carve than Elephant ivory, making them even more appealing to ivory buyers. As a result, Hippo numbers are rapidly decreasing.

According to the Zoo, if Hippos were to disappear completely, the effect on their habitat would be catastrophic. The large amount of waste that Hippos produce provides important nutrients for their African ecosystem. In addition, many species of fish eat the dung and feed on the small parasites that live on the Hippos’ skin.


Here Is the Latest on Memphis Zoo’s Sassy Hippo!

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Back in the spring, ZooBorns was happy to announce the arrival of a Nile Hippopotamus at the Memphis Zoo. (“Memphis Zoo’s Beautiful Bundle of Joy Needs a Name”)

Mom, Binti, gave birth to the healthy 76-pound girl on March 23, and the sassy little Hippo soon became a Zoo favorite.

“This is one of our most significant births in a long, long time,” said Matt Thompson, Director of Animal Programs at the Memphis Zoo, after the calf’s debut. “It’s also incredibly special – as Binti and her baby are carrying on our legacy of Hippos in their brand new home, Zambezi River Hippo Camp.”

The new Hippo made her public debut April 8, and the Zoo immediately organized a naming contest for the new girl. After almost 23,000 votes were cast, the Zoo announced the winning name was “Winnie”.

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4_20170503_172542Photo Credits: Memphis Zoo

This infant is the second for mother, Binti, and first for father, Uzazi. Nineteen-year-old Binti was born at the Denver Zoo. She arrived at Memphis in 2013 from Disney’s Animal Kingdom. Her name means “daughter,” or “young lady,” in Swahili. Uzazi, the 16-year-old father, arrived at the Memphis Zoo in 2016 in preparation for the opening of Zambezi River Hippo Camp. His name is derived from a Swahili word meaning “good parent.”

Memphis Zoo plans to have little Winnie and her mom, Binti, on exhibit everyday. However, they will rotate on exhibit with the Zoo’s other two adult Hippos, Splish and Uzazi.

On the first Wednesday of every month, the Zoo provides video updates on Winnie. Check their website: www.memphiszoo.org/hippo or Facebook page for news on Winnie.

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Fiona the Hippo Moves to the Big Pool

20170408-DSC_0084lo-635x440Fiona, the Hippo born six weeks prematurely at the Cincinnati Zoo, is making steady progress under the watchful eyes of her care team.  Fans around the world follow Fiona’s journey toward health and independence, and she has become an internet sensation.

You first learned of Fiona’s premature birth here on ZooBorns.  Because Fiona was born early, she was unable to stand on her own and nurse like a full-term baby would.  As a result, her mother, Bibi, was not able to provide care.  That’s when zoo keepers stepped in to assist the baby, who weighed 29 pounds – less than half the weight of a normal newborn Hippo.

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Photo Credit: Cincinnati Zoo

Since then, keepers have helped Fiona overcome many developmental hurdles, including learning to walk, swim, and nurse.  Fiona now weights 150 pounds, and drinks more than 2.5 gallons of formula per day.

Fiona is now mastering the art of navigating deeper waters. Hippos don’t actually swim – they float, sink, and push off the bottom with their feet, breaking the surface to take in a breath of air.  So far, Fiona has been swimming in “kiddie pools” of increasing depth.  Last week, zoo keepers introduced Fiona to the indoor pools used by her parents.  The water levels will be gradually increased as Fiona becomes more confident.

The most common question asked of zoo keepers is “When will Fiona be reunited with her parents?”  The zoo staff explains that this is a gradual process that depends entirely on the Hippos’ reaction to each other.  Because Fiona and her mother Bibi were not together during the first two weeks of Fiona’s life, they did not form a strong natural bond and Bibi likely does not recognize Fiona as her offspring.  That doesn't mean that Henry and Bibi will not accept Fiona into the bloat (as a group of Hippos is called).  But introducing a 150-pound baby to two adults who weigh more than 3,000 pounds each will be approached carefully.

For now, zoo keepers allow Fiona to interact with her parents across a wire mesh barrier.  The Hippos' reactions have ranged from curiosity to indifference.  The staff expects the introduction process to be slow and completely guided by concerns for Fiona’s health and well-being.

 


Memphis Zoo’s Beautiful Bundle of Joy Needs a Name

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A big, beautiful bundle of joy has joined the Memphis Zoo family. The Zoo’s Nile Hippopotamus, Binti, gave birth to a healthy girl on March 23.

The 76-pound calf, which is soon-to-be-named, made her public debut April 8.

The Memphis Zoo is asking for help naming the calf. A contest is being held on the Memphis Zoo’s website: www.memphiszoo.org . The contest kicked off Thursday, April 6 and runs through Thursday, April 13 at noon.

“This is one of our most significant births in a long, long time,” said Matt Thompson, Director of Animal Programs at the Memphis Zoo. “It’s also incredibly special – as Binti and her baby are carrying on our legacy of Hippos in their brand new home, Zambezi River Hippo Camp.”

Mother and baby are bright and alert and can be seen in their new exhibit in Zambezi River Hippo Camp during the mornings.

“Binti is an extremely attentive mother and is very protective of her calf,” said Farshid Mehrdadfar, curator of the Memphis Zoo’s West Zone. “The little lady follows her mom around everywhere, and you can typically find her asleep on Binti’s nose or back.”

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4_Photo Mar 25  8 06 50 AMPhoto Credits: Memphis Zoo

This infant is the second for mother, Binti, and first for father, Uzazi. Nineteen-year-old Binti was born at the Denver Zoo. She arrived at Memphis in 2013 from Disney’s Animal Kingdom. Her name means “daughter,” or “young lady,” in Swahili. Uzazi, the 16-year-old father, arrived at the Memphis Zoo in 2016 in preparation for the opening of Zambezi River Hippo Camp. His name is derived from a Swahili word meaning “good parent.”

This is a significant birth for the Memphis Zoo, and for the greater Hippo population, as only about 79 Hippos are currently on exhibit throughout the United States, Canada and Mexico. The species is currently listed as “Vulnerable” on the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN)’s Red List.

For more information on the new calf, as well as the opportunity to vote in the naming contest, visitors are encouraged to visit: www.memphiszoo.org/hippo .

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Fiona the Preemie Hippo Tops 100 Pounds

17352433_10154941852100479_3804671967843059119_nFiona the Hippo has captured the hearts of hundreds of thousands of fans since her premature birth was announced by the Cincinnati Zoo and shared here on ZooBorns. 

Fiona was born six weeks premature on January 24 and was unable to stand and nurse from her mother, Bibi.  After Bibi ignored her tiny baby, keepers decided to care for the baby in the zoo’s nursery.  Under the expert care of the zoo’s staff, Fiona has grown from a mere 29 pounds (less than half the normal weight for a Hippo calf) to more than 100 pounds today.

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Photo Credit:  Cincinnati Zoo

 

The zoo’s nursery staff has helped Fiona overcome several health hurdles, including underdeveloped lungs, finding the right milk formula for her, regulating her body temperature, and keeping her hydrated.  No other zoo has raised a premature baby Hippo before.

Fiona has learned to walk, including up a ramp leading into her exercise pool.  She has learned to swim and exhibits all the normal behaviors of a Hippo.

Keepers hope to reunite Fiona with Bibi and Henry, Fiona’s father. Bibi and Fiona were separated during the normal bonding time between mother and calf, so it is unlikely that Bibi will recognize Fiona as her offspring.  However, the staff expects Bibi and Henry to welcome Fiona into the bloat just as they would any other new Hippo.

Eventually, Fiona will become too large to be cared for in a hands-on manner by keepers.  For now, Fiona and her parents can see and hear each other, but they are separated by a protective barrier. The staff will begin working to transition Fiona to the bloat so she can become a well-adjusted Hippo.

 


17th Hippo Birth For Zoo de Granby

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Zoo de Granby recently celebrated the birth of a baby Hippo on February 27. 

The new calf is the 17th Hippo born at the zoo since 1973, and this is mom Polita’s sixth offspring. Polita arrived at the Canadian facility in July 2000 from Disney’s Animal Kingdom and is almost 20 years old.

The reproduction of the Hippopotamus is one of the great successes of the Granby Zoo. Since the arrival of the first two Hippos, Patriarch and Mermaid, the young ones have succeeded each other. With this new birth, Zoo de Granby is a proud participant in the conservation and protection of this animal species.

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4_Hippo_naissance_5Photo Credits: Zoo de Granby 

The Common Hippopotamus (Hippopotamus amphibius) is a large, mostly herbivorous mammal native to sub-Saharan Africa. It is one of only two extant species in the family Hippopotamidae, the other being the Pygmy Hippopotamus (Choeropsis liberiensis or Hexaprotodon liberiensis).

The Common Hippopotamus is also semiaquatic, inhabiting rivers, lakes and mangrove swamps. During the day, they remain cool by staying in the water or mud; reproduction and childbirth both occur in water.

A mother typically gives birth to only one calf, although twins can occur. The young often rest on their mothers' backs when the water is too deep for them, and they swim under water to suckle. They also suckle on land when the mother leaves the water. Weaning starts between six and eight months after birth, and most calves are fully weaned after a year.

As of 2008, the species was classified as “Vulnerable” on the IUCN Red List (International Union for the Conservation of Nature).

The Granby Zoo is proud, with this new birth, to participate in the conservation and protection of this species.

More great pics below the fold!

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Hippo Preemie Gets Intensive Care at Cincinnati Zoo

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A baby Nile Hippopotamus arrived six weeks ahead of schedule at the Cincinnati Zoo, and the staff is now providing critical care for the premature calf, which is the first to be born at the zoo in 75 years.

Seventeen-year-old Hippo Bibi gave birth on January 24 but the calf, a female, was not expected until March.  Because the premature calf was unable to stand and nurse from Bibi, the veterinary staff moved the baby to the zoo’s nursery where she can receive around-the-clock care. Hippos are pregnant for about 243 days.

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Hippo_pool-5Photo Credit:  Cincinnati Zoo



When the baby was two days old, staff placed her in a shallow pool.  The pool time will help her build strength and gain balance, and help to maintain an optimal body temperature of 96-98 degrees.  Most baby Hippos are born in the water, but they can't swim.

“We are giving her fluids and keeping her moist and warm,” said Christina Gorsuch, curator of mammals at the Cincinnati Zoo. “Her little system is underdeveloped, and getting her to a healthy weight will be a challenge. Vets and animal staff are doing everything they can to get her through this critical time.”

You can find daily updates from the Cincinnati Zoo about the baby, which has been named Fiona, here.

The baby weighs 29 pounds, which is about 25 pounds lighter than the lowest recorded birth weight for this species.  The normal range for newborn Hippos is 55-120 pounds. “She looks like a normal calf but is very, very small. Her heart and lungs sound good and she is pretty responsive to stimuli, but we aren’t sure how developed her muscles and brain are,” said Gorsuch.  Adult Hippos weigh one-and-a-half to two tons.

When Bibi showed signs of labor, zoo staff performed an ultrasound that showed a major shift in the baby and confirmed that it was on the way.  During the procedure, keepers were able to collect milk from her.

“We’re hoping to get the baby to drink Bibi’s milk and other supplements from a bottle. We’ll continue to milk Bibi so we can provide these important nutrients to the baby and also stimulate production so she’s ready to nurse when the baby is strong enough to be back with mom,” said Gorsuch.

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Hippo Calf Bonds With Mom at Zoo Basel

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On the night of October 25, Zoo Basel welcomed a baby Hippo. Keepers aren’t sure if the calf is a female or a male, so it has not yet received a name.

Zookeepers suspected for several days that the birth was imminent. Hippo mom, Helvetia, was restless and moody. The day before the birth, Helvetia ate very little and preferred to stretch and stretch in the water.

As the keepers began their rounds on the morning of October 25, the discovered the calf had arrived. Although the weather was still warm and the water was not cold, keepers felt it was a bit too chilly for a newborn, so Helvetia and the calf were moved to the warm barn.

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4_flusspferd_jungtier_DSC0435Photo Credits: Zoo Basel

After spending several weeks tucked away with mom, the calf now has access to the public area of the exhibit.

The calf is learning to swim and hold its breath quite well under water. The 30 to 50-kilogram calf currently feeds exclusively on breastmilk, but in a few weeks keepers say it will begin to eat solid food.

The calf’s father, Wilhelm, continuously tries to catch a glimpse of the new little one, but protective mom, Helvetia, does not think it is time for the two to meet. If he comes close to her, she shoos him away with unmistakable head blows. Keepers say that this will settle with time, and as the calf grows, in a few weeks, the whole family will share their exhibit.

Zoo Basel keepers request that visitors approach the mother and calf as quietly as possible, in order to help them maintain the developing bond.

The little Hippo is the eleventh offspring of Wilhelm and Helvetia.

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“It’s the Great Pumpkin…!”

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Pumpkins and Jack-o-Lanterns are indicative of the fall season…and Halloween.

Zoo Keepers work hard to keep their animals healthy and happy. Enrichment toys and activities are an important tool that Keepers utilize to help in that pursuit. Enrichment items encourage natural behavior and stimulate the senses…and what could be more stimulating, this time of year, than celebrating by tearing into a bright orange pumpkin!

Happy Halloween from ZooBorns!

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Image 1: (Lynx) Tierpark Hellabrunn / Marc Muller

Image 2: “Red Pandas, Jung and Nima, get into the Halloween spirit”/ Chester Zoo

Image 3: (Snow leopard) Woodland Park Zoo

Image 4: (Amur Tiger) Woburn Safari Park

Image 5: Piglets-in-a-pumpkin/ Tierpark Berlin

Image 6: “Andean Bear, Bernie, tucks into honey-coated treats”/ Chester Zoo

Image 7: “Black Jaguar, Goshi, enjoys and early treat”/ Chester Zoo

Images 8, 9: Elephant Pumpkin Stomp/ Denver Zoo

Image 10: (Chimpanzee)/ Detroit Zoo/ Jennie Miller

Image 11: (Bison)/ Detroit Zoo/ Jennie Miller

Image 12: (Giraffe “Mpenzi”)/ Detroit Zoo/ Jennie Miller

Image 13: (Hippo)/ Woodland Park Zoo/ Jeremy Dwyer-Lindgren

Image 14: (Tiger)/ Woodland Park Zoo/ Jeremy Dwyer-Lindgren

Image 15: (Maned Wolf)/ Woodland Park Zoo/ Jeremy Dwyer-Lindgren

More adorable Halloween pics, below the fold!

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Hippo Calf Makes Zoo Feel Like Dancing

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Keepers at Zoo Wroclaw put on their dancin’ shoes to celebrate a new Hippopotamus birth! The calf, named Zumba, was born May 21 to mom, Rumba, and dad, Váleček. Big sister, Salsa, and proud Grandma, Samba, also welcomed the young Hippo into their herd.

The Zoo reports that Zumba timidly follows mom about in their exhibit, including, of course, dips in the pool.

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4_13265915_10154185136289719_1152387065338904896_nPhoto Credits: Zoo Wroclaw

The common Hippopotamus (Hippopotamus amphibius), or Hippo, is a large, mostly herbivorous, semi-aquatic mammal native to sub-Saharan Africa. They are one of only two extant species in the family Hippopotamidae, the other being the Pygmy Hippopotamus (Choeropsis liberiensis or Hexaprotodon liberiensis).

The name comes from the ancient Greek for "river horse" (ἱπποπόταμος). After the elephant and rhinoceros, the common Hippopotamus is the third-largest type of land mammal and the heaviest extant artiodactyl. Despite their physical resemblance to pigs and other terrestrial even-toed ungulates, the closest living relatives of the Hippopotamidae are cetaceans (Whales, Porpoises, etc.).

Common Hippos are recognizable by their barrel-shaped torsos, wide-opening mouths revealing large canine tusks, nearly hairless bodies, columnar-like legs and large size; adults average 1,500 kg (3,300 lb) and 1,300 kg (2,900 lb) for males and females respectively, making them the largest species of land mammal after the three species of Elephants and the White and Indian Rhinoceros.

Despite its stocky shape and short legs, it is capable of running 30 km/h (19 mph) over short distances. The Hippopotamus is highly aggressive and unpredictable and is ranked among the most dangerous animals in Africa.

Female Hippos reach sexual maturity at five to six years and have a gestation period of eight months. Baby Hippos are born underwater at a weight between 25 and 50 kg (55 and 110 lb) and an average length of around 127 cm (4.17 ft), and must swim to the surface to take their first breaths. A mother typically gives birth to only one calf, although twins also occur.

The young often rest on their mothers' backs when the water is too deep for them, and they swim under water to suckle. They suckle on land when the mother leaves the water. Weaning starts between six and eight months after birth, and most calves are fully weaned after a year.

Hippopotamus amphibius is classified as “Vulnerable” on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. According to the IUCN: “The primary threats to Common Hippos are illegal and unregulated hunting for meat and ivory (found in the canine teeth) and habitat loss. Illegal or unregulated hunting of Common Hippos has been found to be particularly high in areas of civil unrest (Kayanja 1989; Shoumatoff 2000; Hillman Smith et al. 2003). A recent field survey found that Common Hippo populations in DR Congo have declined more than 95% as a result of intense hunting pressure, during more than eight years of civil unrest and fighting (Hillman Smith et al. 2003). Widespread poaching for meat has also been reported from Burundi and Ivory Coast (Associated Press 2003; H. Rainey pers. comm.)...Although it is likely that the majority of the total Common Hippo population occurs in some form of protected area (national park, biosphere, game or forest reserve, sanctuary, conservation area), the proportion of protected Common Hippos likely varies among countries. For countries with a high proportion of Common Hippo populations outside protected areas, the likelihood of persistence is much lower as there is no impediment to hunting or incentive for habitat protection.”

More great pics, below the fold!

 

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