PICS: Rare 'twin' hippos born at Zambia's famous Mfuwe Lodge

One of Zambia's most famous lodges, Mfuwe Lodge and Spa has yet another unique reason to celebrate.

Well-known for the  annual treks made by herds of elephant through its reception area, Mfuwe has just announced a new adorable addition for guests to enjoy - the birth of two hippos, said to be twins. The lodge, set in the remote south of Zambia’s iconic South Luangwa National Park, made the announcement on Facebook - posting photos taken by Ian Salisbury. 

According to LiveScience, females hippos only have one baby at a time, with a gestation period of eight months. Baby calves can weigh anything between 23 to 50 kg.

These two will nurse with their mother for a period of about 18 months, only reaching full maturity at 5 to 7 years old. Thereafter, the animals will consume about 35kgs of grass in one night alone. 

  

TRAVEL PLANNING: A 12-day bushwhacking adventure across Zambia's Liuwa Plains & Kafue National Park 

While this news is positive, it is overshadowed by the controversial hunting and culling of the species in the Southern African country. 

Born Free recently shared how the Zambian government will allow fee-paying trophy hunters "to kill more than a thousand hippos over the next five years". Confirmed by Zambia’s Minister of Tourism and Arts Charles Banda in a press statement issued by his press office, it claims that the cull, on the Luangwa River bordering Zambia’s premier safari tourism destination South Luangwa National Park, is a "bid to control numbers".

The proposed cull could involve as many as 2 000 animals over 5 years, with some 250 hippos a year expected to be killed.

A South African safari hunting company, Umlilo Safaris, has already started offering trophy hunters the chance to kill up to five of the hippos each on a hunting trip to Zambia, according to Born Free. 

"Each hunter will be charged up to $14 000 (about R185k at R13,23/$) for five hippos, potentially netting millions of dollars according to Umlilo Safari’s Facebook site."