Hippo

Pygmy Hippo Calf Learns to Swim at Edinburgh Zoo

1 hippoPhoto credit: Edinburgh Zoo

Congratulations to Ellen and Otto, the latest Pygmy Hippo parents at Edinburgh Zoo in Scotland! The calf, a healthy female, was born on October 27.  

The calf has been named Adana by her keepers, which is a West African name meaning ‘her father’s daughter’. For now, the little one is keeping warm indoors with mom. Although she is still a little shy, Adana has just started to venture into the indoor pool.

Lorna Hughes, team leader for primates and hoofstock at Edinburgh Zoo, says, “A very maternal animal, Ellen has proven herself to be a fantastic parent to her offspring. Baby Adana is just over a week old now and is feeding well from mum. Growing in confidence every day, Adana has ventured into the water under the watchful eye of mum. Even though Pygmy Hippos are incredible swimmers, it’s a little known fact the Hippo calves need to be taught how to swim by their mothers."

Native to West Africa, Pygmy Hippos are an Endangered species on the International Union for Conservation of Nature's Red List of Threatened Species, likely with fewer than 3,000 left in the wild. Populations are declining rapidly due to habitat destruction caused by logging, farming and human settlement. Pressures from wars in the Hippos’ native range are another dire threat. Sadly, Pygmy Hippos are also increasingly being threatened by bushmeat hunters. Edinburgh Zoo has successfully been part of the European Breeding Program for this species for many years, with 18 offspring successfully reared at the zoo since the 1970s.

Ellen was born at Edinburgh Zoo in 2005, named after yachtswoman Ellen McArthur, and this is her third female youngster born to dad Otto. Leishan was born in 2009 and Eve on New Year’s Eve in 2011. 

Visitors can see baby Adana in the indoor Hippo house with Ellen, while Otto and big sister Eve are in their outdoor enclosure during the day.


It's a Boy! Baby Hippo Born at Zoo Ostrava

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This healthy baby Hippo was born at the Czech Republic's Ostrava Zoo on June 3. The first weeks of a little Hippo's life is mostly spent in the water but then it takes its first trips on the shore. This is mostly done with mom to look for food, but it is also a chance to explore its surroundings. During one of these kinds of on-land trips, zoo staff had a chance to determine the baby's sex -- and it's a boy! Since then, he has gotten stronger and much heavier. 

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Photo Credit: Zoo Ostrava

His mother, 36-year-old Katka, is quite experienced, having already raised 10 babies. His father is Honza, a 46-year-old who is the oldest hippo father in Europe! In total, Ostrava Zoo has reared 18 Hippo offspring throughout its history -- this newest baby boy is the nineteenth. 


Hippo Birth Goes Swimmingly at Zoo Basel

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On July 17, a Hippopotamus was born at Zoo Basel in Switzerland. The little one was born in the ditch of the outdoor enclosure, and mother Helvetia, 22 years old, immediately nudged it towards the bank with her nose, where it was able to rest. It has not yet been given a name, as it is still unclear whether the baby is male or female.

At the beginning of the day on Wednesday, the animal keeper suspected that the time for the birth was near. Helvetia was restless, but still headed to the outdoor enclosure to feed. Shortly after 9 a.m., a tiny head suddenly emerged from the water. The father, 23-year-old Wilhelm, made constant attempts to take a peek at the little one, but Helvetia was having none of it: if he came too close, she would shoo him away with an unambiguous clip round the head. Experience has shown that this will abate over time, and in a few weeks, visitors will be able to see the whole family bathing together.

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Photo credits: Zoo Basel

The little one has to dive underwater in order to drink from its mother, resurfacing every 30 seconds to take a breath. The baby weighs between 65 and 110 pounds (30 and 50 kilograms) and is currently feeding solely on its mother’s milk, and will only begin to eat solid food in a few weeks’ time. As is common for the vast animals that are Hippopotamuses, the pregnancy was scarcely visible. However, shortly before the birth the mother’s udders began to swell, and Helvetia and Wilhelm started to keep their distance from each other. The little one is Wilhelm and Helvetia’s tenth child. Older brother Habari, now three-years-old, has been living in Pont-Scorff, France, since June 2012.


Krakow Zoo Welcomes An Important Male Pygmy Hippo Calf

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Last month an unusual baby was born into the Krakow Zoo family. On April 16th Pygmy Hippo parents Quinces and Rafa gave birth to their third calf, a baby boy. Statistically, Pygmy hippos born in captivity skew 60% female, making the birth of a male calf particularly significant for future potential breeding efforts. In the 12 months preceding the birth, only four Pygmy Hippo calves were born in all of Europe, and three of those were female. In early may the whole family made its public debut. This endangered species  lives in humid forests and along river banks in Liberia, Sierra Leone and Cote d'Ivoire.

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Rare Pygmy Hippo Baby Debuts at Gladys Porter Zoo

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With chubby cheeks and an upturned nose, a baby Pygmy Hippopotamus may look more like a video game character than a real animal.  But this male baby, born on February 22 at the Gladys Porter Zoo in Brownsville, Texas, is an important addition to the population of this critically endangered species.

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Photo Credit:  P. Scanlan (1), Gladys Porter Zoo (2,3,4,5)

The male calf, who will be named in a soon-to-be-announced contest, made his public debut alongside his nine-year-old mother last week.  Zoo staffers report that the baby rarely strays far from his mother as he explores his surroundings. 

Pygmy Hippos are native to West Africa, where they live secretive lives in the deepest jungles.  Found only in small pockets of Liberia, Sierra Leone, Guinea, Ivory Coast, and Nigeria, Pygmy Hippos are about half as tall and a quarter of the weight of their cousins the Common Hippos.  Pygmy Hippos spend the day submerged in rivers, emerging at night to eat ferns, fruits, and leaves.  To mark their territories, they wave their tails while defecating to spread feces as far as possible. 

There are fewer than 3,000 Pygmy Hippos remaining in the wild, and little is known about their habits.  Though not intensely hunted, Pygmy Hippos are losing habitat to agriculture and unsustainable forest logging.  Programs like the Species Survival Plan of the Association of Zoos & Aquariums seek to maintain genetically diverse captive populations of Pygmy Hippos and many other endangered species.   

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Are Those Hippos Smiling? Lowry Park Zoo's Newest Baby Gets Her Name

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You may have read about the naming contest for the new baby Pygmy Hippopotamus at Tampa’s Lowry Park Zoo HERE, on ZooBorns. Just a little over one and a half months old, this little girl received a name for Christmas. This rare calf will be called “Zola,” an African name meaning “to love,” as chosen by the Zoo’s online community with more than 3,100 unique votes cast. The vote was close with a one point margin separating the top two names. Zola received 43.5 percent, followed by “Zuri” with 42 percent and “Zawadi” with 14.3 percent.

Zola was born November 15 to second time mother “Zsa Zsa,” only the second hippo birth in the Zoo’s history (the first occurring in 2008). Classified as Endangered, the Pygmy Hippos at Tampa’s Lowry Park Zoo are one of more than 90 species in the Zoo’s Species Survival Plans, cooperative breeding and conservation programs managed by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA) to carefully maintain a healthy, self-sustaining captive population.   

Below you'll see Zola covered in hay one morning, the equivalent of bed head. She takes a dip to get cleaned off until Mom clearly has something to say about it...

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Photo Credit: Lowry Park Zoo


Help Name Hippo Baby Born at Lowry Park Zoo

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Two weeks ago this baby Pygmy Hippopotamus was born at Tampa’s Lowry Park Zoo. The female calf, born November 15 to second-time mother Zsa Zsa, is only the second in the Zoo’s history (the first occurring in 2008). Animal care team members have continually monitored the newborn, who is nursing routinely and has “filled out” just like she should be. And now you can vote to name her, by following the link here, just below her pictures. 

Births are few in the managed population among institutions accredited by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA), with this calf bringing the total number of animals to just 55. Pygmy hippos are extremely rare in the wild, numbering only a few thousand, so this birth is very important to her species.

The pygmy hippos at Tampa’s Lowry Park Zoo are one of more than 90 species in the zoo’s SSPs, cooperative breeding and conservation programs managed by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA) to carefully maintain a healthy, self-sustaining captive population.  

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Photo Credit: Lowry Park Zoo

The Zoo has launched a naming contest on its holiday web site, Wild Wonderland. Click that link to vote. Several African names starting with the letter Z in honor of mother hippo Zsa Zsa have been selected. The name that receives the highest number of votes through Monday, December 3, will be declared the winner:

  • ·         Zawadi -- “gift”
  • ·         Zola -- “to love”
  • ·         Zuri -- “beautiful”

Of all the entries for the winning name, TWO voters will be selected at random to win a family 4-pack of Zoo tickets, in honor of this second calf born at the Zoo.

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Go Hippo Go! Pygmy Hippo Born at Lowry Park Zoo

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A rare Pygmy Hippopotamus was born November 15 at Tampa’s Lowry Park Zoo to second-time mother Zsa Zsa. The birth is only the second in the Zoo’s history and is a significant conservation milestone for the managed population.

“The birth of this rare and endangered nocturnal forest species marks only the 55th individual in the managed population within North America and underlines the importance of our conservation efforts with this species.,” said Dr. Larry Killmar, vice president of animal science and conservation.  “With fewer than 3,000 Pygmy Hippos in the wild, each birth is vital if we have any hope of saving this truly unique species.”

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The zoo’s animal care team has monitored Zsa Zsa and the yet-to-be named female newborn since birth.  The mother appears to exhibiting appropriate behaviors and the calf and has been seen nursing routinely.  At birth, calves are about 20 inches long and weigh about 10 pounds.  Adults average 350-550 pounds, stand about three feet tall at the shoulder, and are four to six feet in length. 

The wild population of Pygmy Hippos is considered endangered.  The species is mainly confined to the lowland forests, swamps, and riverbanks of Liberia, with small numbers in neighboring countries. 

The zoo is holding an online naming contest for the baby.  Voters can choose from three African names starting with the letter Z in honor of mother Hippo Zsa Zsa. The name that receives the most votes through Monday, December 3, will be declared the winner:

  • Zawadi -- “gift”
  • Zola -- “to love”
  • Zuri -- “beautiful”

Photo Credits:  Lowry Park Zoo

 


Hip Hippo Hooray!

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On September 8th, Zoo Wroclaw welcomed a baby Pygmy Hippopotamus. This is the third calf for parents Elpunia and Carlos. The female calf stays close to her mother and has been seen trying to eat veggies and leaves. According to zoo officials, the small but fearless hippo took a bath in a swimming pool during her first day of life. Pygmy Hippos are endangered due to habitat destruction. It is estimated that fewer than 3,000 remain in the wild.

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Photo credit: Marcin Matuszak / Zoo Wroclaw


Baby Pygmy Hippo a Big Splash at ZSL Whipsnade Zoo

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She may be tiny, but this rare Pygmy Hippo is making a big splash at ZSL Whipsnade Zoo. Born eight weeks ago, the little calf named Georgina is enjoying exploring her new surroundings, paddling around her heated indoor pool alongside mom. The youngster is the second born to parents Flora and Tapon. She arrived just 18 months after the birth of their son Sapo, who was the first male Pygmy Hippo to be born in Europe.

The new baby is an important addition to the European Endangered Species Program and for the conservation of this species worldwide. Pygmy Hippos are considered Threatened. In the wild their numbers have dwindled to less than 3,000. The species is part of ZSL’s Edge of Existence program – a global conservation effort dedicated to threatened animal species which have a unique evolutionary history. 

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Photo Credit: ZSL Whipsnade

Africa section team leader, Mark Holden, said, “Like the name hippopotamus – which means water horse – suggests, Georgina enjoys taking a dip, paddling around, and blowing bubbles under the water. Flora’s a star mum and is really helping the new calf to thrive.”