Normally, baby hippos spend the first eight months of their being looked after and cared for by their mothers, and without them, they can easily starve or get themselves in a dangerous situation.
So when rescuers discovered a lone baby hippo stuck in mud in the middle of a drying pond, they knew she wouldn’t last long on her own without her mother’s help. “The baby hippo had been observed for a few days in order to ascertain that it was, in fact, an orphan,” the David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust (DSWT) wrote. “It was quite obviously bogged in mud and was surrounded by flapping catfish in the drying mud hole and it was evident that, without intervention, it was going to die.”
Rescuers from DSWT and the Kenya Wildlife Service (KWS) flew out to the remote spot and found that the baby hadn’t managed to escape the dense mud, so got to work capturing her in a net and pulling her to safety. The team carefully wrapped the baby, who they named Humphretta, in a towel and flew her to DSWT sine they care for orphaned wild animal in need of care.
Once at the orphanage, the team quickly got to work soothing her sunburnt skin and cleaning her from the mud, and Humphretta, or ‘Humpty’, was extremely grateful for their help. “A new hippo keeper was recruited and Humpty very soon became hooked on both her Keeper and Frans, the DSWT field operations manager, needing the close presence of one or the other at all times,” DSWT wrote. “She now follows them everywhere.”
For now, Humpty spends her days getting bottle-fed, napping close to her keepers, and swimming in her new pool. At night, she goes to bed beside her keeper Joseph, and sucks on his fingers until she drifts to sleep. “She is extremely loving, relishing close contact with those she knows and loves, and is thriving,” DSWT wrote. “Our little orphan Humpty is an exceptionally spoilt and lucky little baby hippo.”
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[Featured image: David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust]