Cute and chubby baby pygmy hippo delights visitors to Sydney’s Taronga Zoo on her first public outing
- Newborn pygmy hippo makes her adorable debut at Taronga Zoo on Thursday
- Calf learns to walk and swim with encouragement from mother Kambiri
- The zoo welcomed its first calf in four years as part of conservation efforts
- Zookeepers are now calling on the public to help name the little calf
A tiny watermelon on legs – otherwise known as a newborn pygmy hippo – has made its debut at Sydney’s Taronga Zoo.
The ridiculously cute and chubby calf made her first public outing on Thursday, in time for the school holidays, which was delighted by staff and visitors alike.
Zoo director Simon Duffy says pygmy hippos are “like a little watermelon on little, little legs.”
A newborn pygmy hippo – made its debut at Sydney’s Taronga Zoo on Thursday (pictured)
Born to mom Kambiri and dad Fergus, the pygmy hippo is the zoo’s first birth in four years
“They’re so beautiful,” he said.
Born to mother Kambiri and father Fergus, the pygmy hippo is the zoo’s first birth in four years.
The arrival marks an important milestone for conservation efforts to protect the endangered West African species, senior keeper Renae Moss said.
“There are fewer than 3,000 in the wild, so every birth in a zoo is extremely valuable to help bolster that population and make sure we don’t all lose the species together,” she said.
The baby hippo has spent the past two weeks in a nursery where they have no exhibits, learning to walk and swim under her mother’s watchful eye.
Watching her graduate from the big show was exciting and that was exciting for Ms Moss, who says the calf was initially hesitant to enter the pool but finally took the plunge with a little encouragement from mother.
The baby hippo has spent the past two weeks in a nursery without an exhibit, learning to walk and swim
“As the calf masters the art of swimming and becomes more confident in and out of the water, we will begin to deepen the pool and remove some baby proofing,” she said.
The little calf remains unnamed and zookeepers call for help from the public.
Options suggested by her caretakers include Amara, meaning “filled with beauty and grace,” and is of West African descent, Sierra to the country of Sierra Leone, and Sapo to Sapo National Park in Sinoe County, Liberia.
Members of the public can submit their own suggestions through the zoo’s website.
Pygmy hippos are native to West Africa and are generally solitary animals, only coming together for breeding.
It is estimated that there are still between 2,000 and 3,000 pygmy hippos left in the wild, classifying the species as endangered and continuing to reduce numbers in the wild.
Taronga Zoo calls on the public to help name the little calf