Zoo babies of 2011
Sunday 8 January 2012
Nicknamed by keepers the "maternity ward", ZSL Whipsnade Zoo was the site of many exciting animal births during 2011, from the tiniest of tortoises to a baby Asian elephant.
Watch the video and then find out more below about each zoo baby.
Sapo the pygmy hippo
Sapo was born to first-time mum Flora in the spring of 2011. The hugely cute calf, is an important addition to the European Endangered Species Programme and for the conservation of this species worldwide.
Included on ZSL’s EDGE programme – a global conservation programme dedicated to threatened animal species which have unique evolutionary history – pygmy hippos are endangered and in the wild their numbers have dwindled to less than 3,000.
Rhubarb and Custard the lynx kittens
This pair of rare European lynx , Rhubarb and his brother Custard, are the first-borns of mum, Maja, and dad, Timo.
Rhubarb and Custard are already showing off their distinctive pointed-ears and spotted-markings on their coats and can be seen playing with their parents in their enclosure. Known as a crepuscular species, European lynx are most active at the beginning and end of the day so keep that in mind when you come visit them at the Zoo!The European lynx are part of the Zoo's newest exhibit ' Wild Wild Whipsnade '.
Chocolate the moose
ZSL Whipsnade Zoo welcomed this caramel-coloured newcomer – a moose calf called Chocolate – on its 80th birthday on May 23rd. A bubbly and hungry baby, before too long this leggy moose will grow up to be tall, dark and hopefully handsome.
Chocolate is the first moose born at ZSL Whipsnade Zoo in many years. Visitors can see Chocolate and mum Minnie in the Zoo's latest exhibit ' Wild Wild Whipsnade ' where visitors can come face to face with the very animals they could once have bumped into in Britain’s rural woodland.
Baby Asian elephant
Experienced mum Azizah gave birth to her third baby in the late Autumn – a male - after going through the longest pregnancy ever experienced at the Zoo. The normal gestation period for an Asian elephant is 22 months but this new calf was sitting comfortably for approximately 700 days – nearly two years!
Despite this, the new calf (named Scott by keepers) is also the smallest elephant ever born at ZSL Whipsnade Zoo weighing in at just 104kg, around 16 stone, at birth.
Tiny Tim the tortoise
This tiny month-old Egyptian tortoise at ZSL Whipsnade Zoo was born in 2011 to a group of tortoises seized by HM Customs and Excise that were destined for the illegal pet trade.
Weighing in at just 6g on hatching, the titchy tortoise will reach 500g when fully-grown. These critically endangered creatures originate from Egypt and Libya, but visitors to Whipsnade Zoo can see the pint-sized chap taking one of his slow jaunts around his specially designed miniature home in the Discovery Centre .
Hula the common hippo
Born on September 14 2011 to pround parents Hoover and Lola, Hula the hippo weighed a hefty 40kg (six stone).
The “tiny” tot is thought to be a little girl, but its sex is yet to be confirmed. In the meantime, keepers have nicknamed the youngster Hula – an abbreviation of dad’s name, Hoover, and mum’s, Lola.
Pip the hand-reared wallaby
The tiny wallaby named Pip was abandoned by her mother and so was hand-reared by keeper Alex, who used her rucksack as a makeshift pouch for the little marsupial.
Born in the spring, Pip now lives on ZSL Whipsnade Zoo's Children's Farm where visitors can see her hopping around.