Baby hippos are just about the cutest things. And the latest calf was born at the San Diego Zoo just a few days ago at 6:30 a.m.
Mother Funani gave birth to the newest river hippopotamus on Monday after being kept by herself in the main hippo exhibit for the last two weeks under the observation of animal care staff.
Mom and baby are doing fine and animal care staff witnessed the calf nursing on several occasions.
Funani, who is 30 years old, has raised four other hippos at the San Diego Zoo – three females and most recently a male, named Adhama, born January 26, 2011.
The sex of the newest calf has not yet been determined, as keepers and vets have not been able to get a close enough look at the animal.
Hippo calves are estimated to weigh about 50 pounds at birth and they typically nurse for about eight months. The baby will likely stay very close to Funani during the first several weeks.
The hippopotamus is listed as vulnerable by the International Union for Conservation of Nature, known as the IUCN.
The primary threats to hippos are illegal and unregulated hunting, for meat and the ivory found in the canine teeth, and habitat loss. Hippos can still be found in a number of countries in sub-Saharan Africa.
Finding the newest calf at the San Diego Zoo also won’t be easy for now, according to John Michel, senior animal keeper.
“If people come out to view the baby, patience will be rewarded…Guests may have to wait sometimes as long as half an hour, but the calf will wake up and start moving to deeper water, and mom will start to push it back up to shallow water.