Soundarya, an eighteen-year old female hippopotamus in Vandalur zoo, gave birth to a calf on Monday. This is the second calf born to Soundarya. S. Yuvaraj, Conservator of Forest and Additional Director, Arignar Anna Zoological Park, Vandalur, said Vamboori, a male hippopotamus had been brought from Basel Zoo, Switzerland, in 2002. In 2006, Soundarya was brought from Mysore zoo. She had been pregnant when she was brought from Mysore. Soon after landing at Vandalur zoo, she delivered a calf. With the birth of the second calf, the zoo now houses four hippos, he said.
The gestation period for hippos is eight months. Hippos deliver the calves in the water and the female attains maturity in three to four years and the male in about eight years. The new born would weigh between 30 kg and 50 kg with a body length of 120 cm. calves are able to start swimming within a short while of their birth The mother generally stays under water during the day and comes out only during the evening and feeds the calf, he said. Talking about the mother's diet, Mr Yuvaraj said apart from the regular diet, Soundarya is now being provided an 20 bananas, two loaves of bread, variety of greens and grass. Special attention has been provided to both the mother and the new born calf, he added.