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Hippo calf born at Chhat Bir zoo
Bipin Bhardwaj

Chandigarh, October 2
The Wildlife Week celebrations at the Mahendra Chaudhary Zoological Park, located in Chhat village about 20 km from Chandigarh, began on a happy note when a female hippopotamus gave birth to a calf early this morning.

The second time ‘mother’ gave birth after a gap of eight years in captivity.

It was the watch guard, Mr Ghanshyam, who noticed the hippo calf first with its mother in a water pond in the backside of the enclosure made for the hippopotamus. He then informed the zoo keeper and subsequently the authorities were also given the good news of the new ‘arrival’.

Mr Bhupinder Singh, the zoo keeper, said the mother was teaching the baby to swim, when they were first spotted at about 5.30 a.m.

While talking to The Tribune, Dr Nirmaljit Singh, a veterinary doctor with the zoo, said that the ‘mother’ hippopotamus was segregated from the other animals about three months before her due date of delivery. Three zoo staffers were put on round the clock vigil for the past three days, he claimed.

He said that the baby was healthy and suckling feed from the mother. The new born hippo has been spending maximum time with its mother in the water and enjoying the cool water splash. The mother was being fed with liquid calcium, vitamins besides fodder and crushed grains.

The zoo authorities were unable to determine sex and weight of the new born since the protective mother scared away the zoo staffers whenever they tried getting close to her.

Mr Kuldeep Kumar, Director of the zoo, said the birth of the calf on the very first day of the Wildlife Week was a coincidence. He said that during the celebrations, entry for the visitors would be free.

Moreover, exhibitions and nature care camps would also be organised within the zoo premises to educate the visitors about the wildlife importance. The zoo would also remain open for general public on Monday, he claimed.

It may be recalled that a female calf was also born to a female hippopotamus on September 17 last year. With this birth, the number of hippos has increased to five, comprising two calves, two females and a male.


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