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.”
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