Last year, fans from all over the world flocked to Cincinnati Zoo to catch a glimpse of baby Fiona the Nile hippopotamus. Following a pretty rough start to life, Fiona quickly developed a famously sassy attitude, leading the internet to fall collectively in love with her.
But Fiona could have a little competition on her hands now that Disney Animal Kingdom (which is part of Walt Disney World in Florida) has welcomed its first baby hippo in more than a decade.
Born on January 13, keepers don’t know much about the calf yet as they’ve been giving it distance and time to bond with mum Tuma, though it’s expected he or she weighs between 30kg and 50kg.
“Our animal care team is giving Tuma and her calf plenty of room to nurse and bond, so the calf’s gender and weight may not be known for some time,” Disney Parks and Resorts Director of Animal and Science Operations Scott Terrell wrote in a blog post.
Tuma and her chosen mate, Henry, conceived the calf as part of the Species Survival Plan, which is overseen by the USA’s Association of Zoos and Aquariums. Both are Nile hippos, which are considered endangered species.
“This birth is an important contribution to the worldwide conservation and understanding of these amazing creatures. We hope guests see this adorable hippo calf and be inspired to take action to protect them in the wild,” Terrell said.
If you’re planning a visit to the park, you could catch a glimpse of the calf and its mum, Tuma, on the Kilimanjaro Safari and Wild Africa Trek experiences.
Welcome to the world, little buddy.
How To Get There
- Fly into Orlando International Airport
- Drive 40km (34 minutes) via FL-417
- Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort & Spa, 4401 Floridian Way, Bay Lake
(Lead image: David Roark / Disney)
Kristen Amiet is a previous AWOL editor, bona fide travel addict, sometimes whisky drinker and full-time breakfast food enthusiast.