Adorable endangered baby pygmy hippo prepares to meet public as zoo reopens
World News

Adorable endangered baby pygmy hippo prepares to meet public as zoo reopens

A tiny baby hippo born at a US zoo during coronavirus lockdown is fighting fit and ready to meet the adoring public.

The two-month-old pygmy hippo is getting used to his new surroundings at San Diego Zoo which is preparing to reopen to the public on Saturday.

The calf, born on April 9 and named Akobi, has lived in a special maternity habitat with mum Mabel until now and is the first baby hippo to be born there for 30 years.

He has now been transferred to the main pygmy hippo enclosure, as staff gear up to welcome visitors for the first time since March 16 because of the coronavirus pandemic.

The area is also inhabited by four monkeys who live alongside the hippos in a mixed-species environment and will start to come into contact with Akobi over the next few days.



Leanne Klinski, wildlife care specialist for primates, said: “We’re excited to welcome guests back to the San Diego Zoo, so they can see this adorable calf who has brought his wildlife care team so much joy.

“Akobi is doing great at navigating the pygmy hippo habitat, and I look forward to seeing the interactions between him and the primates who live in this habitat, too.”

Akobi, who weighs 40lbs, is the first calf born to Mabel and the first successful birth of a pygmy hippo at the zoo for 30 years.



His name means “first-born” in Yoruba, a language spoken in western Africa where pygmy hippos are found in the wild.

The species is classed as endangered with fewer than 2,500 left in Africa.

It comes as many of the worlds zoos are in financial dire straits.

In the UK, the Wild Planet Trust has said it cannot afford to reopen its Living Coasts site in Devon.



An announcement from the trust read: “Falling visitor numbers and the forced closure of all its zoos due to Covid-19 has meant that it has had to look at its cost base and make efficiencies.”

Chester Zoo and London Zoo, have also reported financial struggles during the pandemic, with the Government saying it has already provided a £14m support fund.

Most zoos in the UK were expected to reopen from June 15, so long as visitor numbers are managed and safeguards are put in place.

There are even concerns some animals may have to be put down if zoos have to close.

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Pat Reaves
Pat Reaves writes for our World News section. Having spent his youth traveling from one country to another, Pat has incurred an education that is truly international in culture, academia, and language. His quick thinking and spontaneity has landed him in the sector where stories happen without any warning. He is an extremely patient and nurturing writer who lets a story take its course without interference and prejudice.

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