Pygmy hippo born at Marwell as zoo celebrates third new arrival in as many weeks

Andover Advertiser: Joined at the hippo: mother and child at Marwell Joined at the hippo: mother and child at Marwell

THERE must be something in the water at Marwell Wildlife as they celebrate their third new arrival in as many weeks.

A tiny female pygmy hippo has been born; just weeks after the zoo announced the birth of its very first anteater pup and a rare oryx.

Weighing in at just six kilos and measuring just 15cm in height, the new arrival certainly lived up to the pygmy name, when it was born to mum, Wendy, and dad, Nato on December 13.

Shelly Parkes, collection manager at Marwell Zoo said: “We have had a very successful and busy winter this year with lots of new arrivals in the zoo. The birth of a pygmy hippo, a species which is endangered in the wild, is another great achievement for Marwell.

“Wendy is an experienced mum, this being her fourth birth, so she has been fantastic at looking after the calf and is very protective of her. The baby was on her feet from the day she was born and seems a strong calf. She is suckling well and will continue to do so for another six to eight months. We look forward to seeing her grow and develop every day.”

Now the zoo is once again asking for help from the public to help name the littleun. An online competition has been launched on the zoo’s website and all entries will be submitted into a prize draw which will earn one lucky person the chance to adopt a pygmy hippo.

Gloria, Rosie and Harriet have all been put forward by the hippo’s keepers. Voting closes at midnight on January 1 and to vote visit marwell.org.uk/hippo.

Ongoing deforestation in their natural habitat, in the swamps of western Africa, has resulted in their numbers steadily declining. Added to civil unrest in many parts of the region pygmies are under significant threat and are now listed as endangered on the IUCN Red List.

It is estimated that the population is likely to continue to decline by 20 per cent over the next 20 years.

To watch a video of the baby hippo exploring its new home at Marwell visit youtu.be/BtTSCIv12i8.

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