Hungry Hippos

Holly the baby common hippo had to be very patient indeed when her mum decided nibbling on the grass was more of a priority than Holly’s first big swim.

Born in December last year, little Holly had spent the colder months keeping warm inside her enclosure, trying out small indoor pools and bonding with her mum, dad and grandma, but was now ready to enjoy the great outdoors.

Baby hippo waits for her mum

Grazing in the warm sun, Holly was visibly eager to go for her first dip in the big outdoor pool, edging closer to the cool water, but she patiently waited over an hour until her mum Lola had finished eating. Finally, mum Lola splashed into the pool, and her daughter followed her in.

Zookeeper Mark Holden said: “Hippo calves usually follow their mum’s lead when it comes to first swims, but they don’t usually have to wait quite so long. However, you could see it was worth the wait. She seemed to have a wonderful time splashing around in the sun.

“We’re really pleased with Holly’s first trip outdoors. She looked very inquisitive as she took in all the new sights and smells and was clearly enjoying exploring the paddock.”

Holly is part of a conservation breeding programme at ZSL Whipsnade Zoo and is genetically important to the European Studbook.

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