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1 hippoPhoto credit: Edinburgh Zoo

Congratulations to Ellen and Otto, the latest Pygmy Hippo parents at Edinburgh Zoo in Scotland! The calf, a healthy female, was born on October 27.  

The calf has been named Adana by her keepers, which is a West African name meaning ‘her father’s daughter’. For now, the little one is keeping warm indoors with mom. Although she is still a little shy, Adana has just started to venture into the indoor pool.

Lorna Hughes, team leader for primates and hoofstock at Edinburgh Zoo, says, “A very maternal animal, Ellen has proven herself to be a fantastic parent to her offspring. Baby Adana is just over a week old now and is feeding well from mum. Growing in confidence every day, Adana has ventured into the water under the watchful eye of mum. Even though Pygmy Hippos are incredible swimmers, it’s a little known fact the Hippo calves need to be taught how to swim by their mothers."

Native to West Africa, Pygmy Hippos are an Endangered species on the International Union for Conservation of Nature's Red List of Threatened Species, likely with fewer than 3,000 left in the wild. Populations are declining rapidly due to habitat destruction caused by logging, farming and human settlement. Pressures from wars in the Hippos’ native range are another dire threat. Sadly, Pygmy Hippos are also increasingly being threatened by bushmeat hunters. Edinburgh Zoo has successfully been part of the European Breeding Program for this species for many years, with 18 offspring successfully reared at the zoo since the 1970s.

Ellen was born at Edinburgh Zoo in 2005, named after yachtswoman Ellen McArthur, and this is her third female youngster born to dad Otto. Leishan was born in 2009 and Eve on New Year’s Eve in 2011. 

Visitors can see baby Adana in the indoor Hippo house with Ellen, while Otto and big sister Eve are in their outdoor enclosure during the day.