Baby pygmy hippo Richmond zoo Christmas came early at the zoo this year! We were delighted to welcome a hippopotamus into our family this season – congratulations to pygmy parents Iris and Corwin on the birth of their female calf!
On December 6, 2022, after a 7-month gestation period, she was born at the zoo and in Virginia – the second pygmy hippo calf born there. Unfortunately, the baby has yet to be named.
At three days old, our veterinarian team performed a neonatal exam on the baby to check her sexual and general physical condition. At that time, she weighed an impressive 16 pounds; one week later she had grown to 24.2 pounds – equivalent to 600 pounds in a full-grown pygmy hippo.
Iris is an experienced mother and takes great care of her baby. The calf has been nursing and growing quickly, while Iris and her Baby pygmy hippo Richmond zoo currently reside in a cozy hay-bedded enclosure that’s off-exhibit, giving them privacy to bond while staying close by. Soon they will be moved into an indoor pool area visible to guests so the infant can start swimming laps!
The pygmy hippo is native to West Africa and listed as endangered on the IUCN Red list. With less than 2,500 mature individuals left in the wild, their survival in zoological parks seems more assured than their survival outside these protected areas. Thus, birth plays an integral role in helping preserve this fascinating species.
At present, the Metro Richmond Zoo is the only location in Virginia where visitors can observe hippos up close.
Q.1 What zoos have pygmy hippos?
Gulf Breeze Zoo and San Diego Zoo are the only two zoos in America where guests can view both Nile and pygmy hippos up close.
Q.2 Why is the pygmy hippo endangered?
Pygmy hippos have become more vulnerable to humans due to the fragmentation and destruction of their forest habitat due to logging, mining, agribusiness expansion and farming activities. As a result, they are much more at risk of being hunted or disturbed by human activities than ever before.
Q.3 What zoo was the baby hippo born at?
Metro Richmond Zoo welcomes baby pygmy hippopotamus just in time for Christmas The Metro Richmond Zoo recently announced the birth of a 16-pound baby pygmy hippo, an endangered species. As yet unnamed, this calf is nursing and growing rapidly.
Q.4 Do pygmy hippos still exist?
Pygmy hippos, once found only in four countries of West Africa, are now considered endangered species with possibly less than 3,000 individuals left in their natural habitat. Unfortunately, the forests that shelter them are being cleared or burned away, while rivers, where they swim, have become polluted by humans.
Q.5 Are pygmy hippos friendly?
Are pygmy hippos dangerous to humans, though? Yes. However, they tend not to be too hostile or aggressive towards humans – just stay clear of their space and you should be fine.