A 15-pound baby pygmy hippo made his debut to the world on Boxing Day, after his mother Flora labored for 6 hours at the Zoological Society of London’s Whipsnade Zoo. The 28-year-old mother had a healthy pregnancy despite battling a cancerous tumor in her mouth. The new addition, who hasn't been named yet, has brought a lot of joy to the world in the short time he's been here. The irresistibly cute calf is seen swimming, wiggling his ears, and eating in the video below.
Pygmy hippos are an endangered species. There are only an estimated 2,000 pygmy hippos left in the wild, with that number diminishing as they are hunted for meat and their habit is destroyed through deforestation.
Because of the shortage of male pygmy hippos within the European endangered species breeding program, the baby male is a very special addition to the zoo.
Senior Keeper Steve White said, “Flora’s calf was due on Christmas Day, but the little one kept us waiting until the evening of Boxing Day. We knew Flora must be going into labour because she went off her food – which never happens! After a six hour labour, the calf was born, a 7 kilo, perfect miniature of his mum. Since then, the baby hippo has been happily waddling around and seems to love spending time in water. On his first weigh-in, he was so slippery it was like picking up a big bar of soap!"
“We’re delighted for Flora, who has come through a difficult year and is now proving once again to be an attentive, experienced mum. She’s contributed three calves to the European Endangered Species Breeding Programme and she’ll now retire from breeding.”