A three-month-old baby hippo, born in September, has been killed at Copenhagen Zoo after it was bitten by its father during feeding time, the zoo wrote in a press release.
The little calf, which weighed just 94 kilos compared to the big male’s 2,000 kilos, apparently moved too close to the male. The mother of the calf, which has given birth to three calfs in her time, would normally have been protecting her young, but was busy eating in the next stall.
“We are not sure what precisely happened, but we can see that the father has bitten the calf once. But that’s enough when you have 20 cm long teeth and weigh two tonnes,” Mads Frost Bertelsen, a veterinarian with Copenhagen Zoo, told Metroxpress newspaper.
“It’s always a shame when we lose young animals this way, but it isn’t catastrophic for our hippo stock.”
Another young two-year old calf present escaped unscathed from the incident.
While hippos are aggressive animals that live in groups where fights between flock members are not unusual, young hippos are not usually involved in skirmishes.
The grim news comes just a month after veterinarians at Copenhagen Zoo euthanised a two-year-old elephant name Khao Zoo because it was suffering from a herpes virus called Elephant Endotheliotropic Herpes Virus (EEHV).