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Video: Italian zoo asks public to name adorable baby hippo

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Video: Italian zoo asks public to name adorable baby hippo
The baby hippo doesn't yet have a name. Photo: Giorgio Angelo Cortese/Parco Natura Viva
16:28 CEST+02:00
Staff at a northern Italian zoo were astonished when two of their oldest hippos - Gonzalo and Camilla - presented them with their newborn baby.

Although he's just days old, the baby already weighs nearly a ton. 

And the zoo's veterinary director, Camillo Sandri, says the new arrival is "particularly bold and entreprising, spending a lot of time out of the pond."

The video below shows the adorable new arrival playing with its family - and the zoo, the Parco Natura Viva in the Veneto region, wants the public to help name the baby.

Animal-lovers have until tomorrow to vote for the hippo's name, which you can do by leaving a comment on their Facebook page.

The public haven't been given entirely free rein over the baby's new names, however; staff have narrowed the choices down to six options, all of which are unisex, since it is too early to determine the sex of the baby.

The potential names are: Popo ('butterfly' in Swahili), Qamata ('great spirit' in Xhosa), Tamu ('sweet' in Swahili), Tunda ('fruit' in Swahili'), Wimbi ('wave' in Swahili) and Zibu ('nymph' in Zulu).

Staff chose African names, as they have done with the other hippos in the park.

The baby's parents are among the oldest hippopotamuses living in Europe - both aged over 40 - and have given birth to more than ten children, but the zoo believes this will be Camilla's final birth.

"Mum Camilla devotes all her time to the little one, keeping it safe from the curiosity of its big brother Shombai - who has to deal with no longer being the smallest of the group," said Camillo Sandri, veterinary director of the Parco Natura Viva in the Veneto region.

The baby is one of only seven born this year in European zoos, and the species is listed as 'vulnerable', due both to illegal poaching and the loss of its natural habitat.


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