Hoedspruit’s Jessica The Hippo has given birth to a healthy calf

Posted on 5 April 2024

In a heartening turn of events, Hoedspruit’s world-famous hippo Jessica has welcomed a new addition to her family, marking a moment of hope after a year of sorrow.

The yet-to-be-named calf made its grand entrance on February 22nd. The scene unfolded in the crocodile-dotted waters of the Blyde River, near the cherished home of Jessica’s caregiver, Tonie Joubert.

The arrival of the baby hippo follows a series of heartaches, including the loss of Jessica’s first-born, Luku, on March 17, 2023, and the passing of Joubert’s wife, Shirley, on the same night.

Found orphaned and weighing a mere 16kg, Jessica The Hippo stole the hearts of the Joubert family when she was discovered on the banks of the Blyde River in March 2000. Years later, she was joined by another resident hippo, Seun.

Jessica has climbed the ranks of global stardom, starring in documentaries, gracing the silver screen in Leon Schuster’s acclaimed film, “Mr. Bones,” and even earning a mention in Karl Pilkington’s adventures in the hit British travel comedy series, “An Idiot Abroad.

Among the Hoedspruit hippo’s famous quirks is her affinity for rooibos tea, chugging a staggering 20 liters daily. Beyond her celebrity status lies a touching bond with her caregivers, the late Shirley Joubert and her game-ranger husband, Tonie.

According to an article published by News24, when Joubert announced the birth of Jessica’s calf in February, his elation was tinged with bittersweet memories of his late wife, Shirley, who had cared for Jessica for over two decades.

“Shirley would have been in second heaven if she was around,” quoted the article.

Joubert still remains rooted in his commitment to Jessica’s well-being, ensuring mother and baby now have the space to bond away from prying eyes.

He added that what makes Jessica The Hippo famous, is that she is free.

“I don’t train Seun and Jessica. What makes them famous is that they are free. They go into the Kruger Park but always come back home,” he said proudly, as per the News24 report.

Image: Facebook / Rina Vermaak.

yoast-primary - 1004439
tcat - Wildlife
tcat_slug - wildlife
tcat2 - Wildlife
tcat2_slug - wildlife
tcat_final -