Move over Fiona, because we got our own baby hippo and it’s the cutest little thing.
The Dallas Zoo announced the birth of its yet to be named baby hippo on Thursday. Baby and mom, Boipelo, are doing well. The baby was born at 6:30 p.m. on Tuesday, May 14, and the labor lasted about seven hours.
“We timed Boipelo’s contractions every moment she barrel rolled in the water, and after about 100 rolls, we saw a baby emerge,” said Matt James, Dallas Zoo’s Senior Director of Animal Care. “The baby immediately began moving and kicking and Boipelo swiftly nudged it to the ledge of the pool, where the baby sprawled out and took a break. Boipelo has been very attentive, gently nudging the calf to the surface for air after each nursing session. Hippo calves need to come up every 30 seconds to breathe, and she’s doing a great job ensuring the baby is getting everything it needs.”
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Zoo vets had been preparing for the arrival of this bundle of joy since January after a successful ultrasound was perform on the mom.
The father, Adhama, and Boipelo were paired together on an AZA Species Survival Plan, unfortunately, Adhama passed away shortly after breeding.
In 2018, Boipelo lost her first calf because its lungs would not fully inflate when trying to take its first breaths.
“We have gone through great loss to get to this remarkable moment of welcoming a healthy hippo calf,” said Gregg Hudson, Dallas Zoo’s president and CEO. “Our animal care team and our female hippo are nothing short of resilient. We are grateful to have Adhama’s legacy live on in this new baby.”
Over the past six months, zoologists have observed very positive behaviors in Boipelo as she’s grown into her independence.
“Boipelo has really come out of her shell; this time of adjustment has been very important for her,” said John Fried, Dallas Zoo’s mammal curator. “She’s developed her own personality and has gained a lot confidence that will surely contribute to giving her newborn the best care possible.”
The new mom and her calf are remaining out of the public’s eye in order to bond, according to the zoo. There will be a public debut of the baby’s name and gender in the next few days.