Surprise! It's a baby hippo! Animal care staff at the L.A. Zoo were a bit surprised when Mara, a female hippo went into labor and gave birth several hours later. Why the surprise? Mara had been on birth control.Breeding is closely monitored at the zoo  to comply with the Species Survival Program. In a L.A. Zoo news release, "Animal care staff had a hunch a birth was imminent due to Mara’s symptoms such as weight gain, but they had limited testing options to confirm the suspicion." The statement continues, "Mara’s labor began in the comfort of her outdoor pool, and it is common for calves in the wild to be born in the water and stay in the water for up to two weeks before emerging. However, in this particular situation, Mara chose to leave her pool and have her baby on dry land." Mama and baby are doing well.


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