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Pygmy Hippo Calf Born at

San Diego Zoo

Posted By : The Animal Facts Editorial Team

Date: May 16, 2020 7:54 pm

Photo Credit: San Diego Zoo Global

The birth of a pygmy hippo has added an extra treat to San Diego Zoo’s endangered species day celebration.

A male calf was born to mum Mabel just prior to 9am on April 9. His mother, Mabel has provided great care to her first calf. She gave birth to him in a safe place and soon after birth he was up and walking around just hours after being born.

This calf marks the first time a pygmy hippo has been born at San Diego Zoo in 30 years.

Photo Credit: San Diego Zoo Global

Keepers are pleased with the progress of the calf over the past month. One important milestone has been learning to swim. Starting with a shallow tub placed in his indoor habitat the calf has gradually been acquainted with water. Now he has access to the outdoor maternity yard where he has demonstrated that he knows to close his nostrils and hold his breath under water, both natural instincts in a hippo.

As such keepers have recently given him access to the full pool to continue learning to swim.Within the next month keepers are hoping to give the calf and mum access to the main exhibit where he will be able to explore new surrounds and a larger pool.

They will rotate through this exhibit and the off display yard with the calf’s father, Elgon who is 13. The calf will not meet his father as is natural for pygmy hippos that are solitary in the wild.

Photo Credit: San Diego Zoo Global

Pygmy hippos are a relative of the more common river hippo but weigh as much as 10 times less than their larger relatives. They also spend a majority of their time on land.

This species is listed by the IUCN as endangered with less than 2,500 believed to exist in the four West African countries which they call home. They are threatened due to logging and farming.

Learn more about the San Diego Zoo here San Diego Zoo Website

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