Flamingo Land: ‘Europe’s most important hippo calf’ born at Yorkshire amusement park’s zoo

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The first hippopotamus to be born at Flamingo Land in over twenty years took place as the skies were lit up by the Northern Lights - watch video above.

The calf had a dramatic start to life, however. She was named Aurora as she was born the same week as the Northern Lights were visible in the UK.

Her keepers and the veterinary team were not certain if Aurora, a female calf weighing nearly 50 kilograms, was being fed by her mother, Godzilla.

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The zoo’s vet, Lisa Sedlaczek, said: “After three days the calf was found very cold and the team immediately went to work warming the calf and providing fluids with glucose.

Flamingo Land: ‘Europe’s most important hippo calf’ born at Yorkshire amusement park’s zooFlamingo Land: ‘Europe’s most important hippo calf’ born at Yorkshire amusement park’s zoo
Flamingo Land: ‘Europe’s most important hippo calf’ born at Yorkshire amusement park’s zoo

“Sadly the condition of the calf was not improving and the next day she was in a life-threatening state, so she was transferred to Rainbow Equine Hospital in Malton for intensive care.”

After 24 hours in intensive care the calf was discharged back to Flamingo Land and has since been recovering with round the clock care provided to her by a dedicated team of zoo keepers.

Head keeper at Flamingo Land Sam de Belle, who has been leading the effort caring for Aurora who has been under 24 hour observation, said the calf is recovering well.

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She said: “Only now have we been able to relax. The calf is starting to be bottle fed by the team and is growing every day, both in size and confidence.”

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Hippopotamus had to have treatment in intensive careHippopotamus had to have treatment in intensive care
Hippopotamus had to have treatment in intensive care

The above video shows the adorable Aurora being fed by a zookeeper. She also is the first successful calf born in the UK for seven years.

The three week old calf represents a vital birth in the European population after the zoo breeding programme (European Ex-Situ programme, or EEP) identified Godzilla as the most important female in Europe.

Park Executive Ross Snipp, said: “Seven years ago we were told that Godzilla was the last remaining female of her lineage to have never bred, she is carrying the genetic material of four founders of the population and it was vital to the EEP that she produce offspring.”

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Godzilla, who is 25, is also one of the oldest first time mums and was paired with father Hoover when he arrived in December 2022 from Whipsnade Zoo.

Now Aurora is getting stronger she will be starting to spend time exercising outdoors and guests should be able to see her at the hippo habitat.

Keepers are hopeful that once strong enough they should be able to mix her with her mother.

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