It’s a boy! San Diego Zoo announces birth of endangered pygmy hippo


Endangered Pygmy Hippo Born at San Diego Zoo

Last month, after days of anticipation, Mabel, a 4-year-old pygmy hippopotamus at the San Diego Zoo, gave birth to her first calf. The male pygmy hippo calf was born just before 9 a.m. on April 9, and weighed 12.4 pounds. This is the first successful pygmy hippo birth at the Zoo in more than 30 years.
Wildlife care specialists report that the calf, which has not yet been named, is nursing and getting lots of attention from the first-time mother—and it is meeting or surpassing the milestones for a young pygmy hippo, including the ability to go underwater. When mom and her calf were given access to the outdoor maternity habitat, staff added a fence to prevent the calf from venturing into too-deep water. The calf demonstrated the natural adaptations and instincts of pygmy hippos—to close their nostrils and to hold their breath under water—and today, both Mabel and the calf, who weighs 25 pounds, have full access to the pool in the maternity yard.
Pygmy hippos are one of hundreds of endangered species the staff at San Diego Zoo Global is working to protect from extinction, and in recognition of Endangered Species Day—May 15, 2020—the organization is celebrating its supporters who make this work possible. Every member, donor or volunteer—and anyone who has visited the San Diego Zoo or San Diego Zoo Safari Park—has contributed to San Diego Zoo Global’s work to save species worldwide. To learn more about the conservation work that is made possible by this support, visit This page also features links to engaging wildlife cams, activities for kids, free online educational courses and ways to participate in citizen science projects from any home computer or smartphone, to help researchers gather important information on threatened and endangered species.

SAN DIEGO, Calif.  (CNN) — Pygmy hippos are an endangered species, but in April, one was born at the San Diego Zoo. It was the zoo’s first successful pygmy hippo birth in more than 30 years.

Mabel, a 4-year-old pygmy hippopotamus at the San Diego Zoo, gave birth to her first calf last month, the zoo announced Friday.

The calf hasn’t been named, but the zoo said it stood, walked and followed its mother around within just a few hours of its birth.

“Mom and calf are doing very well,” the zoo said in a statement. “The calf is nursing and getting lots of attention from the first-time mother.”

Pygmy hippos typically reside in rivers and streams of West African forests, according to the zoo. Less than 2,500 pygmy hippos live in Africa, the zoo said.

The baby now weighs 25 pounds, up from the wee 12 pounds he weighed at birth.

For anyone looking to see the new addition, though, they’ll have to wait about a month until he’s introduced to the main habitat, the zoo said.

More on the San Diego Zoo, here.

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