Zimbabwe, Zambia

Kariba & Middle Zambezi

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Celebrity hippo flies to new home

Celebrity hippo flies to new home

Celebrity hippo flies to new home

In the March 2013 edition ZT reported Conservation Lower Zambezi’s orphaned hippo rescue (Orphan hippo rescued, ZT, March 2013). After three months the calf was successfully relocated by the Zambian Wildlife Authority, with the help of Proflight Zambia, to Chipembele Wildlife Trust in South Luangwa where she started her journey back to the wild.

Hippos are listed as vulnerable on the IUCN Red Data List and although Zambia has more hippos than any other country in the world, and they sometimes seem common here, Conservation Lower Zambezi undertook the daunting task of saving one orphaned hippo with the intention of returning it to the wild as soon as possible.

Christened ‘Douglas,’ although hippos are notoriously difficult to sex and it is now thought that Douglas is actually Douglina, the calf was cared for by a dedicated team of four carers, 24 hours a day, at the CLZ premises in the valley. Thanks to Ross Breeders she enjoyed two egg yolks with her three hourly bottle of 1.5 litres of milk and supplements. Along with a good diet CLZ also had to ensure that the calf had safe and suitable surroundings, and a second pool was built for her after she outgrew the first within a few weeks.

CLZ and the Zambia Wildlife Authority decided to relocate the hippo to Chipembele Wildlife Trust in South Luangwa, where Anna and Steve Tolan, experienced wildlife rehabilitators, committed to caring for her and to ultimately reintroduce her to the wild hippo population in the nearby Luangwa River.

The question was, how to get her there? A road journey would be stressful for the calf and so a shorter journey by air was advised. Proflight Zambia took on the task and Douglas was given a higher chance of survival in a purpose-built crate in the back of their Caravan aircraft. Accompanied by one of her carers from the Lower Zambezi, Oliver Chinuka, and ZAWA vet Dr. David Squarre, Douglas arrived at her new home in Mfuwe in good condition.

Douglas currently requires 12 litres of milk a day as well as supplements, and has three keepers with their daily expenses. Chipembele Wildlife Trust welcomes any assistance with these costs.

Zambezi Traveller March 2013:
Orphan Hippo Rescued

Read more articles from this issue:
Zambezi Traveller (Issue 13, June 2013)

Read more about the region in our destination guide:
Kariba & Middle Zambezi

Zambezi Traveller Directory:
Conservation Lower Zambezi

External links
Chipembele website appeal
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