We’re interrupting regular programming to let you know Taronga Zoo’s seven-year-old pygmy hippo, Kambiri, has had her first baby. On show to the public for the first time today, the as-yet-unnamed calf was born on February 21 at a healthy five kilos and is growing well. She has plenty of baby fat around her neck, has started eating solid food and is learning to swim.
“She’s quite inquisitive, she loves exploring the exhibit,” says zookeeper Renae Moss. “And when we watch back the CCTV footage from the night, we have seen some feisty moments; the baby bares its quite tiny teeth at its mum.”
Moss adds that it is “really important” for the zoo to keep breeding pygmy hippos. “There are so few in the wild and we don’t have that much information about them. Every pygmy hippo born in a zoo is a step forward.”
There’s only 2000–3000 pygmy hippos estimated to remain in their native West African forests and swamps. “Deforestation is the major threat facing pygmy hippos, so if any visitors want to help, they should shop wisely and research where their timber is coming from.”
Moss recommends visiting in the morning if you want to see the baby calf, as she will probably be napping later in the day. The zoo will soon announce a competition to name her.