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Chilean Zoo Welcomes Baby Pygmy Hippo to the World

Chilean Zoo Welcomes Baby Pygmy Hippo to the World
A photo released by the Buin Zoo shows the mother pygmy hippo with her newborn. Photo: EFE

SANTIAGO, CHILE - Santiago zoo keepers introduced a baby pygmy hippopotamus to the media Thursday


The baby is the Santiago zoo's second baby pygmy hippo to be born there in two years, an addition which will bring hope to the conservation of the species which is in danger of extinction.
 
The hippo weighed 6.9 kilograms (15 pounds) at birth has yet to be named, is the son of a female called "Coco," who came from Buenos Aires in 2003 and of a male named "Hipolito," who arrived from Brussels in 2006.
 
An online contest is being held by the zoo to help name the new baby hippopotamus.
 
Buin Zoo Veterinarian, Doctor Ignacio Idalsoaga, said the little mammal was an important addition.
 
"The truth is that this is a very important event for our zoo. Not only because we are repeating what happened a year and a half ago with the birth of Inocencio but we are seeing there will be a reproductive continuity of this species, which has been decimated in the wild."
 
Photo: EFE
EFE Photo
 
The hippo baby's brother named "Inocencio" - was also born at Buin Zoo on December 2011 - will be transferred to a New England zoo in the United States shortly where he is expected to mate with a Canadian hippo.
 
The new hippo baby will be sent to Japan next year.
 
"He is headed for Japan. Japan has a population of some 13 pygmy female hippopotamus and only one male. So this second male will be sent, an important element in the conservation of the species," said Dr. Idalsoaga.
 
The animals natural habitat is located in the shrinking Upper Guinean forest ecosystem.
 
They are almost never seen in the wild and there are only about 300 in captivity with only four captive specimens in Latin America.
 
"These are specimens which will, someday, give hope for survival because they will provide new genetics to this family when it is necessary," said Dr. Idalsoaga.
 
The pygmy hippopotamus's closest relative, besides the common hippopotamus, are whales.
Publicado el 02 Agosto 2013
Fuentes: AFP