After nearly two months of waiting, animal care staff at the San Diego Zoo today have determined with 100-percent certainty that the new hippopotamus calf is a girl. The calf, born March 23 to mother, Funani, has been named Devi.
Due to the very protective nature of a hippo mom, the calf was often kept tucked into vegetation growing along the edge of the hippo pool. Funani would also place her body between the baby and the viewing area.
Devi is the fifth calf that Funani has raised at the San Diego Zoo. Hippo calves typically nurse for about eight months. And while she hasn’t been weighed, keepers estimate that Devi weights between 90 and 110 pounds. Funani weighs about 3,500 pounds.
Devi and Funani can be seen in the Zoo’s 150,000-gallon hippo pool on Tuesdays, Thursdays, Saturdays and Sundays. Devi’s father, Otis, is on exhibit on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays.
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 ivory (found in the canine teeth) and habitat loss. Hippos can still be found in a number of countries in sub-Saharan Africa.
Photo taken on May 12, 2015, by Ken Bohn, San Diego Zoo