Keepers at the Edinburgh Zoo are celebrating the birth of a pygmy hippopotamus. Leishan, whose name means ‘gift’ in West African, was born on June 9th. She is the offspring of Ellen and Otto and is the first baby for this new breeding pair.
Photo credits: Alan Thomson
Pygmy hippos are only found in West Africa, where they are now critically endangered. Their primary threat is the loss of their forest habitat due to the timber industry. They are also extensively hunted for their meat.
Darren McGarry, Animal Collection Manager at Edinburgh Zoo, who also sits on the European Endangered Programme (EEP) Committee for this species, said:
“A pygmy hippo baby is an exciting addition for us. This baby will be very popular with visitors to Edinburgh Zoo this summer. Its birth will also contribute to the sustainable breeding of the pygmy hippo species both in UK and Europe. Edinburgh Zoo is only one of a few zoos in the UK to care for this species and we have a particularly successful breeding record, having produced 16 hippo calves in less than 30 years.
“Ellen is proving to be a great mum to Leishan. The calf has gradually been gaining weight and she is now old enough to begin exploring her enclosure and can been seen by visitors.”