San Diego, California - River hippopotamus Funani and her 4-day-old calf lounged around their 150,000- gallon pool today at the San Diego Zoo. Although a curious newborn, the calf didn't stray far from its protective mother. This is Funani's fifth calf and the first one in three years since she gave birth to Adama in 2011.
"Funani knows the drill by now, since this is her fifth calf," said Jennifer Chapman, senior keeper at the San Diego Zoo. "She is a great mother and has been keeping a very close eye on the little one."
In fact, Funani has kept the calf so close that keepers have not yet been able to determine its gender. The river hippopotamus is a threatened species, facing both natural predators and man-made dangers such as poaching. With so many obstacles in the wild, mother hippos are known to be very protective of their newborns. Hippo calves typically nurse for about eight months, so the mother and calf will be staying close together for the next few months.
Mother and calf are now on exhibit with the calf's father, Otis.
Bringing species back from the brink of extinction is the goal of San Diego Zoo Global. As a leader in conservation, the work of San Diego Zoo Global includes onsite wildlife conservation efforts (representing both plants and animals) at the San Diego Zoo, San Diego Zoo Safari Park, and San Diego Zoo Institute for Conservation Research, as well as international field programs on six continents. The important conservation and science work of these entities is made possible by the San Diego Zoo Global Wildlife Conservancy and is supported in part by the Foundation of San Diego Zoo Global.