LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. (July 15, 2021) – Disney’s Animal Kingdom Theme Park welcomed two baby animals this week just a day apart, with a Nile hippopotamus calf born Monday and a western lowland gorilla following on Tuesday. Both newborns are healthy and under the supervision of Disney’s animal care team.
Gorilla mom Azizi gave birth backstage at the theme park Tuesday afternoon and introduced the baby to the entire family troop soon thereafter. The infant may now be seen onstage at Gorilla Falls Exploration Trail presented by OFF! Repellents. Azizi and the baby’s father Gino, are also parents to the infant’s big brother Cory, who was born in 2014.
A Hippopotamus calf made a splashy debut Monday in the park’s Safi River on Kilimanjaro Safaris, joining nine other hippos in the family, or bloat, including mother Tuma and father Henry. The calf is nuzzling with Tuma and moving through the water already like a pro, and may be seen by guests experiencing Kilimanjaro Safaris.
Disney’s animal care team is giving both mothers ample time to nurse and bond with their newborns; updates will be shared soon, including the sex and weight of each new arrival. Both sets of parents were paired through the Species Survival Plan, a program overseen by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums. The plan ensures responsible breeding of vulnerable or critically endangered species – including Nile Hippopotamuses and western lowland gorillas – to help create healthy, genetically diverse populations for years to come.