New hope for endangered pygmy hippos as UK zoo welcomes calf

4 May 2021, 13:52

The calf was born on April 17 and weighed 11lb 14oz
The calf was born on April 17 and weighed 11lb 14oz. Picture: Royal Zoological Society of Scotland/PA Media
Alice Dear

By Alice Dear

Edinburgh Zoo are celebrating as they welcome a new member to their family.

A pygmy hippo calf has been born in Edinburgh Zoo.

The little calf, who is part of an endangered species, was born to parents Otto and Gloria on April 17, weighing only 11lb 14oz.

The first pictures of the little hippo have been released, and they're just as cute as we expected.

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The female calf was born to Gloria and Otto in Edinburgh Zoo
The female calf was born to Gloria and Otto in Edinburgh Zoo. Picture: Royal Zoological Society of Scotland/PA Media

Native to West Africa, the pygmy hippo has become an endangered over the years due to logging, farming and human settlements in the area, alongside hunting for bushmeat.

The birth of the female calf brings new hope for the species, whose numbers are declining.

The calf will remain with her mother for the next few weeks
The calf will remain with her mother for the next few weeks. Picture: Royal Zoological Society of Scotland/PA Media

While the Zoo's staff are thrilled at the new arrival, they're making sure she doesn't get too overwhelmed and spends enough time with mum Gloria.

Jonny Appleyard, the zoo’s hoofstock team leader, said: "Our new arrival is doing really well and is growing stronger and more confident every day.

“As she is still so young, we are limiting opening hours and numbers in our indoor viewing area to give the calf and mum Gloria some time to get used to visitors."

Pygmy hippos are native to West Africa and have been declining numbers
Pygmy hippos are native to West Africa and have been declining numbers. Picture: Getty

He added: “The first 30 days are critical for her development, so we’ll be keeping a close eye on them both at this sensitive time and plan to name her in the coming weeks.”

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