A hippo named Lola received a blooming lovely surprise on Friday 9 March, when keepers presented her with an edible bouquet, made out of her favourite foods by chefs from River Cottage Kitchen & Deli at ZSL Whipsnade Zoo.
Keepers asked chefs at the Zoo’s new restaurant if they would create a well-earned tasty treat for common hippopotamus (Hippopotamus amphibius) mum Lola, and her seven-month old calf, Hodor. The River Cottage chefs soon went to work designing and creating a large, hand-arranged bouquet, using delicious, fresh vegetables such as red cabbage, tomatoes and carrot, expertly sculpted into florets, and wrapped in banana leaves.
Third-time mum Lola gave birth to hippo calf Hodor last July and the two have been inseparable ever since. When he was born, Hodor was approximately the same weight as an adult Labrador, but was still dwarfed by his one-and-a-half ton mum.
Visitors can see Lola and Hodor at ZSL Whipsnade Zoo, and from Friday 30 March to Sunday 15 April, families will be able to embark on a Superpowers Trail around the Zoo, encountering animals with astonishing abilities.
Team leader Mark Holden said: “Lola is an incredible mum, and Hodor dotes on her, copying her every move. He even bobs his head up and down to mirror her when she eats maize, even though he’s not big enough to eat it himself yet!
“We wanted to give her a well-deserved Mother’s Day treat using her favourite foods. Lola enjoys all sorts of fresh vegetables, and she loves chewing banana leaves, so this really is the perfect, mouth-watering meal for her. Hopefully young Hodor won’t steal too much for himself!”
River Cottage Kitchen and Deli is now open at the UK’s largest Zoo. Diners can enjoy delicious lunches, made from the finest seasonal ingredients. The rustic restaurant overlooks the picturesque Chiltern Hills on one side and the Zoo’s herd of white rhinos on the other side.