Pygmy Hippo Calf Born at Taronga Zoo Sydney

Posted By : The Animal Facts Editorial Team

Date: December 4, 2021 10:59 pm

Pygmy Hippo Calf Taronga Zoo Sydney

A pygmy hippo calf born on November 22nd 2021 at Taronga Zoo Sydney

Photo Credit: Taronga Zoo Sydney

Taronga Zoo Sydney have announced the birth of a pygmy hippo calf providing a boost for the species which is rare both in the wild and in Australian zoos. It is the first calf born at the zoo in four years.

The new arrival was welcomed to mother Kambiri on November 22nd 2021. The father of the calf is male Fergus. This is the second calf for the pair.

At present the calf is bonding with Kambiri in an off-exhibit nursery den. While the calf was born in a shallow pool they are not born knowing how to swim or hold their breath. This behavior must be taught by their mother.

Currently her days involve short bursts of activity followed by a drink from mom and a nap.

Taronga Unit Supervisor of Ungulates Gabe Virgona said: “Over the past couple of days, we’ve been giving the pair supervised access to a shallow pool in their den. They were initially hesitant, but just yesterday the calf took her first step into the water. Although it may not seem like a big step to some, it is a massive milestone for mum and calf,” said Virgona.

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Just like any expectant parents the hippo keepers at Taronga Zoo Sydney have been busy baby-proofing the habitat for the new arrival. In the maternity den they have installed baby barriers along the walls and in the main exhibit they have raised the floor of the pond.

“Whilst the calf is still finding her slightly-webbed feet and mastering the art of swimming she won’t be on exhibit just yet, but it will only be a matter of time until she’s ready to make her big splash to the public – so stay tuned for updates,” said Virgona.

Considered endangered in the wild the pygmy hippo population has been reduced to between 2000 and 3000 individuals in the forests and swamps of West Africa.

“These remarkable, yet highly elusive animals are threatened by a number of reasons, but the leading cause of decline is habitat loss, as their forest and jungle homes are often being logged and converted into farmland. However, wild populations are also heavily impacted by human-animal conflict as well as poaching,” said Virgona.

They are also rare in Australian zoos with six individuals housed at four zoos. Taronga Zoo Sydney are currently home to the only breeding pair.

Learn more about Pygmy Hippos here – Pygmy Hippo Fact File | The Animal Facts

Learn more about Taronga Zoo Sydney on their website – Taronga Zoo Sydney

Pygmy Hippo Calf Taronga Zoo Sydney

A pygmy hippo calf born on November 22nd 2021 at Taronga Zoo Sydney

Photo Credit: Taronga Zoo Sydney

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