Disney's Animal Kingdom welcomes first baby hippo in 13 years

Tuma's baby will be named after vets determine the gender

WALT DISNEY WORLD – Disney's Animal Kingdom is celebrating this week after the birth of the first baby hippo born at the park in 13 years.

Tuma, a Nile hippopotamus, gave birth to a healthy calf weighing more than 60 pounds, Disney officials said. The tiny hippo's exact weight and gender is unknown, because Disney animal care staff are giving the new mom plenty of space to bond and nurse with her baby.

Once the baby can be examined a name will be selected for the baby hippo, who could grow up to weigh more than 2,000 pounds as an adult.

Disney shared a video of mom and calf bonding in the water. The newborn’s adorable little ears wiggle and it sticks pretty close, nuzzling up to Tuma at all times.

Nile hippopotamus typically breed and give birth in water, where they stay to keep cool.

Tuma and her mate, Henry, were bred through the Species Survival Plan, which is overseen by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums, according to Disney.

Tuma and her baby at Disney's Animal Kingdom on Jan. 16, 2018.
Tuma and her baby at Disney's Animal Kingdom on Jan. 16, 2018.

The Nile hippopotamus, native to sub-Saharan Africa, is a vulnerable species and their population is on the decline. Many are affected because of habitat loss, according to the World Wildlife Fund.

"This birth is an important contribution to the worldwide conservation and understanding of these amazing creatures," Disney officials said in a post announcing the birth. "We hope guests will see this adorable hippo calf and be inspired to take action to protect them in the wild."

Animal Kingdom guests can see Tuma and the new calf on Kilimanjaro Safaris and also during the Wild Africa Trek experience.

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