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First hippo in 20 years born at Flamingo Land Resort

Godzilla and her newborn Aurora at Flamingo Land.

Flamingo Land Resort has announced the successful birth of a hippopotamus - the first at the zoo for over twenty years.

The calf, a female weighing nearly 50 kilograms, has had a rocky start to life.

Keepers and the veterinary team were not certain if she was being fed by her mother, Godzilla. 

Zoo Veterinary Surgeon, 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.

"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 the calf was discharged back to Flamingo Land and has since been recovering with round the clock care provided by her dedicated team of keepers. 

Sam de Belle, Head Keeper at Flamingo Land, has been leading that effort.

She said:

"Caring for the calf has been a 24 hour task and 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." 

The team have named the calf Aurora as she was born the same week the Northern lights illuminated the night sky across the UK.

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." 

25-year-old Godzilla is also one of the oldest first time mums and was paired with the 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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