Tampa’s Lowry Park Zoo has seen the birth of a pygmy hippopotamus. Zsa Zsa an experienced mother hippo at the zoo gave birth at 11am on Saturday October 11.
The zoo has a good history for breeding this species having had hippos born and 2012 and 2008. This pygmy hippo birth is exciting as currently only 30 pygmy hippos live in American Zoo’s.
The baby’s birth was assisted by veterinarians as it was in a breech position. Dr Ray Ball was able to grab the calf and ever so gently pull her into the world. The calf was quickly sitting upright and Zsa Zsa showed proper mothering behaviours including letting the calf suckle.
The baby sure is big weighing in at 14.5 pounds about the size of a medium pumpkin. Her and her mom will soon exploring her habitat at the zoo.
The zoo participates in the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA) pygmy hippo survival plan. As part of the plan zoos exchange animals so there is genetic diversity but it is still small with only 13 zoos holding 30 animals throughout America.
Pygmy hippos are thought to now number only a few thousand. They mainly live in Liberia with small populations in neighbouring countries. They are shy and solitary with most of their activity taking place at night.
Currently the zoo is running a naming contest for the young hippo with a range of African names for the public to vote on.
The zoo intends on announcing the name at its baby shower on November 1st. This event is being held to celebrate the numerous other baby animals who are on show at the zoo. Joining the young hippo are demoiselle cranes, Indian and white rhinos, tufted deer, squirrel monkeys, colobus, guenons, antelope, okapi, elephants, penguins, black bears and a manatee.
Photo Credits: Lowry Park Zoo