By Popular Vote, San Diego Zoo Hippo Calf Is Named Amahle

Name, Meaning “Beautiful One” in Zulu, Chosen in “Good Morning America” Online Vote

Following nationwide online voting this month, the San Diego Zoo’s new river hippo calf now has a name. The 20-day-old female will be called Amahle (pronounced ah-MA-shay), which means “beautiful one” in Zulu. Her name was revealed today (February 28, 2020) during a live, early-morning television segment on “Good Morning America”—in front of a crowd of enthusiastic San Diego Zoo team members and volunteers.

“The fact that so many people were part of this process has been amazing.  Amahle was a name suggested multiple times and it couldn’t be a better fit.”  “It is a Zulu name, just like her mom’s, and she certainly is a beautiful one,” said Jennifer Chapman, wildlife care specialist at the San Diego Zoo. “My hope is that those who participated in this naming event will feel a connection with Amahle and are inspired to learn more about river hippos and ways they can help hippos in their native range in Africa.”

Amahle is the ninth calf born at the San Diego Zoo to her 3,600-pound mother, Funani, and she is Funani’s 13th calf.  Active and healthy, Amahle currently weighs an estimated 100 pounds. Guests visiting the San Diego Zoo can see Amahle and her mother in the hippo habitat on Tuesdays, Thursdays and weekends.

The hippopotamus is listed as Vulnerable on the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List of Threatened Species. The primary threats to hippos are illegal and unregulated hunting for meat and the ivory from their canine teeth, as well as habitat loss. Hippos can still be found in a number of countries in sub-Saharan Africa.

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  1. robert deRose