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Colorado's new 200-pound baby hippo gets his name

Hippo parents Zambezi and Biko took a shining to each other nearly immediately last year.

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. — Cheyenne Mountain Zoo has announced the name of its nine-week old hippopotamus.

The calf’s mom Zambezi helped reveal the baby's name with a special breakfast of carrots, oranges and hay in the shape of her calf's new name.

The baby's new name: Omo.

Omo is named after a river in Africa. The seasonal flooding of the Omo River is vital for food cultivation by the indigenous groups that live along it, according to Cheyenne Mountain Zoo.

Omo is the fourth member of the hippo herd at Cheyenne Mountain Zoo. Newborn hippos can weigh between 40 and 80 pounds. After nine weeks, Omo now weighs 200 pounds. He'll be 3,000 pounds when fully grown.

Omo was born underwater in July and is the first born at Cheyenne Mountain Zoo in 32 years. When born, the baby bobbed up and down in the water and swam right over to meet its 28-year-old mom Zambezi, according to the zoo.

Guests can see Omo and the hippo family in the "Water’s Edge: Africa."

Last month, first-time Nile hippo father Biko smashed a watermelon with the insides dyed blue (with animal-safe food coloring) to reveal the gender of his big bundle of joy.

RELATED: Gender reveal for Colorado's new baby hippo

“It was an incredible moment to see this beautiful baby join our family,” said Cheyenne Mountain Zoo's Philip Waugh. “Zambezi’s a first-time mom, but she knew just what to do. As soon as she delivered the calf, she turned around to greet it and started helping it to shallow water. I’m so proud of her.”

Mom Zambezi first came to Cheyenne Mountain Zoo from Denver Zoo in 1993.

In June 2020, Biko, a now 18-year-old long-legged male Nile hippo, joined the hippo herd on a breeding recommendation with Zambezi and her sister, Kasai. Biko and Zambezi took a shining to each other nearly immediately, according to zoo officials.

“Like any new couple, their first ‘dates’ had a few awkward moments, but once they connected, it was full-on hippo love,” said Waugh. “The two of them wanted to be together constantly, and we accommodated! They would do a hippo breeding ‘dance’ where they would swim nose-to-rear in a circle. We also saw them taking turns resting their heads on each other’s rear ends for little pool naps. They made it clear they liked each other. We saw their first successful breeding in November.”

Eight months later – a normal full-term gestation for Nile hippos – their little one arrived.

RELATED: First photos of Colorado's new baby hippo are here

RELATED: Cheyenne Mountain Zoo welcomes first male hippo in more than 30 years

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