San Diego Zoo's Baby Hippopotamus Calf is Girl | NBC 7 San Diego

San Diego Zoo's Baby Hippopotamus Calf is Girl



    Ken Bohn, San Diego Zoo

    A brand-new baby hippopotamus was born at the San Diego Zoo is a girl, San Diego Zoo officials announced.

    Nearly two months after the baby hippo was born, zoo staff have determined the hippo is a girl and has been named Devi. 

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    A river hippopotamus named Funani swims with her calf at the San Diego Zoo. (Published Wednesday, March 25, 2015)

    Mother Funani has been protective of her baby and has kept her tucked into the vegetation growing along the edge of the hippo pool, where she would use her body to shield the baby. 

    Keepers estimate Devi already weighs between 90 and 100 pounds. 

    San Diego Zoo Global spokeswoman Jenny Mehlow said this is the fifth calf raised by Funani at the San Diego Zoo. The 30-year-old mother has birthed 11 calves since 1989. Her mate is Otis, an adult male hippo brought to the San Diego Zoo from the Los Angeles Zoo in 2009 specifically to breed with her.

    People looking to spot the mom and her child at the zoo can see her at the hippo pool on Tuesdays, Thursdays, Saturdays and Sundays. Devi's father Otis is available on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays. 

    Last March, Funani gave birth to another baby hippo. Sadly, that calf died just days after its birth.
    The San Diego Zoo says the river hippopotamus is a threatened species.

    Primary threats to hippos are illegal and unregulated hunting, for meat and the ivory found in the canine teeth, and habitat loss, according to the International Union for Conservation of Nature.
    Hippos can still be found in a number of countries in sub-Saharan Africa.

    The zoo’s first hippopotamus was born at the Brookfield Zoo near Chicago in July 1935 and arrived in San Diego in August 1936, becoming the first hippo to be exhibited by a zoo on the West Coast, according to the zoo website.

    In 1940, hippos Rube and Ruby arrived in San Diego from the Calcutta Zoo in India. Together, the pair had 11 offspring, helping the exhibit grow. Ruby and Rube died in 1982 and 1988, respectively.