A baby hippo had a splashing time at ZSL Whipsnade Zoo after taking a dip in the public pool for the first time.

A baby hippo had a splashing time at ZSL Whipsnade Zoo after taking a dip in the public pool for the first time.
 
The five-week-old common hippo calf had been snuggled up to mum Lola, in their private dens, before making its first appearance in the big pool last week.
 
Born just after 9am on December 11, 2013, the tiny tot is Lola and dad Hoover’s second calf and is thought to be a female, but its sex is yet to be confirmed. In the meantime, keepers have nicknamed the youngster Nelly.
 
Zookeeper Steve White said: “After a few tentative steps on the water’s edge, Nelly was soon enjoying paddling around in the pool and blowing bubbles under the surface as it explored its new surroundings.
 
“It is extremely playful and inquisitive and loves nothing more than watching what’s going on around her. It was standing and suckling just an hour after it was born, and mum’s been doing a brilliant job really helping it to thrive.”
 
Born after an eight month gestation, baby Nelly will weigh 1,400kg (220st) when  fully grown and reach up to 1.6 metres in height.
 
Common hippos are classed as vulnerable by the International Union for Conservation of Nature Red List of Threatened Species, and under threat from poaching and habitat loss in the wild, so the calf is a much welcomed addition to the European studbook.

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