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Thursday, September 23, 2021

Baby hippo is what’s new at the Animaya zoo

Hipoberto and CaliZoo announce their first calf, who's doing swimmingly so far

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Two hippos at the Anamaya Zoo in Merida have produced an adorable calf. Photo: Courtesy

Merida, Yucatan — Near the 10th anniversary of Animaya Zoo, the zoo added a new occupant when the hippo couple Hipoberto and CaliZoo produced offspring.

This is the first time a hippo calf has been born at the Animaya.

The yet-unnamed baby was born on Saturday, April 4, weighing approximately 15 kilos. The calf, whose gender is not yet known, spend most of its time in water and for the next 10 or 11 months, depends on Mom for food. Hipoberto was separated from the family for the safety of the calf.

The zoo reports that CaliZoo is an excellent first-time mother, watching over her calf at all times. The small common or Nile hippopotamus (Hippopotamus amphibius) looks strong and is apparently in good health.

Of course, we can’t visit him or her just yet. Merida’s zoos continue to be closed, until further notice, due to the coronavirus contingencies, but staff still report to duty in small groups and on a staggered schedule.

In addition, disinfection and sanitization protocols require staff to use face masks, gloves and antibacterial gel.

Animaya technical personnel monitor the family remotely so as not to stress them out.

The small hippopotamus is the first offspring for both parents. The species’ gestation period approximately eight months.

Its father, Hipoberto, had to wait about four years for CaliZoo to reach sexual maturity, and for mating to occur.

Hipoberto arrived at Animaya on April 18, 2015, being a young specimen of approximately 5 years old and CaliZoo arrived on October 30 of the same year, from the Toluca’s Zacango Ecological Park, at approximately 1 year old.

The Nile hippopotamus is a mega herbivore that mainly inhabits sub-Saharan Africa. It is a relative of the pygmy hippopotamus and both are the only existing specimens of the Hippopotamidae family. With semi-aquatic habits par excellence, they live in rivers and lakes. They weigh between 1,500 and 3,000 kilos, and the females remain fertile throughout their long lives. The species lives 40 to 50 years.

The Nile hippopotamus is considered by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) as a species at risk of extinction worldwide, due to the loss of its habitat and illegal hunting for meat and ivory.

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