Rare Lowland Anoa Calf Born at Chester Zoo

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A rare Lowland Anoa calf, the world’s smallest species of wild cattle, was born June 1st at Chester Zoo.

Mum Oana welcomed the new youngster, which has yet to be sexed or named, after a 10-month pregnancy.

The Anoa, which is usually found in forests and swamps on the Indonesian island of Sulawesi, is listed as “Endangered” by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) with just 2,500 estimated to be left in the wild. Their falling numbers are largely attributed to habitat loss and overhunting for their meat.

Sometimes referred to as the ‘Demon of the Forest’, Anoas can often be persecuted by indigenous farmers who wrongly believe that they leave the forests at night and use their horns to attack other cattle.

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4_A rare anoa calf has been born at Chester Zoo (3)Photo Credits: Chester Zoo

Tim Rowlands, Chester Zoo’s curator of mammals, said, “The Lowland Anoa is a species that’s coming under real pressure in its fight for survival. Not only are they suffering from loss of their forest habitat, which is being chopped down to make way for agricultural land, they are also hunted for their meat. Anoas are also sometimes mistakenly killed by farmers who hold them responsible for puncturing their cattle at night. All of this is sadly contributing to an uncertain future for the species.”

“That said, all is far from lost, and we are actively supporting conservation efforts to protect the Anoa and its habitat in Sulawesi. And our new calf can only help us to raise more awareness about this fantastic species,” Tim continued.

“Looking at our latest arrival, it’s impossible to see how anyone could harm Anoas or label them ‘demonic.’ They’re a beautiful, shy and secretive animal that are misunderstood and often overlooked.”

The new calf is the first of its kind to be born in the Zoo’s new Islands habitat (the biggest ever UK zoo development) since it opened last summer. The new Islands exhibit showcases threatened species from South East Asia and puts a spotlight on the conservation work Chester Zoo carries out in the region.

Johanna Rode-Margono, the Zoo’s South East Asia conservation field programme officer, who is working on the conservation of Asian wild cattle, added, “Together with the wider global zoo community, international conservationists and the Indonesian government, we’re supporting the conservation of the Anoa in South East Asia to counteract the increasing threats to its survival.

“The pressure on the species can be reduced through the improvement of law enforcement to prevent poaching, for example by providing training to patrol teams, by educating local people about their shy character and to reduce the demand for wild Anoa meat. Right now we are developing conservation projects in Sulawesi that will aim to achieve these exact goals.”

Anoa, also known as midget buffalo and sapiutan, are a subgenus of Bubalus comprising two species native to Indonesia: the Mountain Anoa (Bubalus quarlesi) and the Lowland Anoa (Bubalus depressicornis). Both live in undisturbed rainforest, and are essentially miniature water buffalo. They are similar in appearance to a deer, weighing 150–300 kg (330–660 lb).

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First Tawny Frogmouth Chick for Brevard Zoo

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A Tawny Frogmouth chick, unofficially known as “Furby,” hatched at Brevard Zoo on May 28. Furby is the first member of its species to hatch at the Melbourne, Florida zoo.

Furby’s parents, Nathan and Hotdog, had yet to successfully hatch and rear a chick at the facility. Therefore, Furby is being hand-reared by animal care staff. The sex is unknown at this time.

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The Tawny Frogmouth (Podargus strigoides) is a species of frogmouth native to Australia and is found throughout the Australian mainland and Tasmania. They are bigheaded stocky birds often mistaken for Owls due to their nocturnal habits and similar color.

Tawny Frogmouths can measure from 34 to 53 cm (13 to 21 in) long. Weights have been recorded of up to 680 g (1.50 lb) in the wild (perhaps more in captivity) but these are exceptionally high.

Tawny Frogmouths and Owls both have mottled patterns, wide eyes, and anisodactyl feet. However, Owls possess strong legs, powerful talons, and toes with a unique flexible joint as they use their feet to catch prey. Tawny Frogmouths prefer to catch their prey with their beaks and have fairly weak feet. They also roost out in the open relying on camouflage for defense and build their nests in tree forks, whereas Owls roost hidden in thick foliage and build their nests in tree hollows. Tawny Frogmouths have wide, forward facing beaks for catching insects, and Owls have narrow downwards facing beaks used to tear prey apart. The eyes of Tawny Frogmouths are to the side of the face while the eyes of Owls are fully forward on the face. Furthermore, Owls have full or partial face discs and large asymmetrical ears while tawny frogmouths do not.

Tawny Frogmouths are carnivorous and considered to be among Australia's most effective pest control birds, as their diet consists largely of species regarded as vermin/pests in houses, farms, and gardens. The bulk of their diet is composed of large nocturnal insects such as moths, as well as spiders, worms, slugs, and snails. Their diet also includes a variety of bugs, beetles, wasps, ants, centipedes, millipedes, and scorpions. Large numbers of invertebrates are consumed in order to make up sufficient biomass, and small mammals, reptiles, frogs and birds are also eaten.

Tawny Frogmouths form partnerships for life, and once established, pairs will usually stay in the same territory for a decade or more. Establishing and maintaining physical contact is an integral part of the lifelong bond.

The breeding season of Tawny Frogmouths is from August to December, however individuals in arid areas are known to breed in response to heavy rains. Males and females share in the building of nests by collecting twigs and mouthfuls of leaves and dropping them into position. Nests are usually placed on horizontal forked tree branches.

The clutch size is one to three eggs. Both sexes share incubation of the eggs during the night, and during the day, males incubate the eggs. For the duration of the incubation period, the nest is rarely left unattended. One partner will roost on a nearby branch and provide food for the brooding partner. Once hatched, both parents cooperate in the supply of food to the young. The fledging period is 25 – 35 days, during which they develop half their adult mass.

The Tawny Frogmouth is classified as "Least Concern" on the IUCN Red List due to their widespread distribution. However, there are a number of ongoing threats to the health of the population. Many birds and mammalian carnivores are known to prey upon them.

They also face a number of threats from human activities and pets. Tawny Frogmouths are often killed or injured on rural roads during feeding as they fly in front of cars when chasing insects illuminated in the beam of the headlights. As they have adapted to live in close proximity to human populations, Tawny Frogmouths are also at high risk of exposure to pesticides.


First Zebra of the Season for Bioparc Valencia

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BIOPARC Valencia recently welcomed their first newborn Grant’s Zebra of this year! On June 7, the Spanish park started the day with the birth of the beautiful filly.

With the arrival of good weather more frequent births of different species occur, and, if all goes well, more births of Zebras are expected at the park. The herd of Zebras, inhabiting the African Savannah exhibit at BIOPARC Valencia, is now composed of one male and four females.

The mother, Bom, arrived at BIOPARC Valencia in June 2007 from Zoo Copenhagen in Denmark. In less than a month, Bom will be 10 years old. The father, Zambé, is the only male of the herd, and he moved to the park, in February 2012 from the Safari de Peaugres in France, for breeding purposes.

The filly is very healthy and constantly follows her attentive and inseparable mother. Both enjoy the sunny spring days with the rest of the Zebra herd and under the curious eyes of the other savannah animals who share their exhibit.

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4_Primavera 2016 en BIOPARC - las cebras Bom y Zambé junto a su cría - 7 junioPhoto Credits: BIOPARC Valencia

 

Grant's Zebra (Equus quagga boehmi) is the smallest of six subspecies of the Plains Zebra. This subspecies represents the Zebra form of the Serengeti-Mara ecosystem.

The distribution of this subspecies is in Zambia, west of the Luangwa river and west to Kariba, Shaba Province of the Democratic Republic of the Congo, north to the Kibanzao Plateau. In Tanzania, north from Nyangaui and Kibwezi into southwestern Kenya as far as Sotik. It can also be found in eastern Kenya and east of the Great Rift Valley into southernmost Ethiopia. It also occurs as far as the Juba River in Somalia.

This northern subspecies is vertically striped in front, horizontally on the back legs, and diagonally on the rump and hind flanks. Northerly specimens may lack a mane. Grant’s Zebras grow to be about 120 to 140 centimeters (3.9 to 4.6 ft) tall, and generally weigh about 300 kilograms (660 lb). Zebras live in family groups of up to 17 or 18 individuals. They live an average of 20 years.

Needing water daily, they remain no more than half a day's walk from water sources. Their diet includes grass, tough stems, and sometimes leaves or barks of trees and shrubs. They require a lot of food so it is not uncommon for them to spend around 20 hours a day grazing.

Their gestation period is 360-370 days, and they usually have one offspring per birth. The birthing peak is during the rainy season. Mothers nurse their foal for up to a year. Young male Zebras eventually leave their family groups. This is not because of sexual maturity or being kicked out by their fathers, but because their relationship with their mothers has faded after the birth of a sibling. The young stallion then seeks out other young stallions for company. Young females may stay in the harem until they are “abducted” by another stallion.

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Porcupette Pokes About at Bronx Zoo

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A North American Porcupine was born April 24 at WCS’s (Wildlife Conservation Society) Bronx Zoo and is now on exhibit with his family in the newly renovated Children’s Zoo.

The male porcupette was born to mother, Alice, and father, Patrick, and this is the pair’s fourth offspring.

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The North American Porcupine (Erethizon dorsatum), also known as the Canadian Porcupine or Common Porcupine, is a large rodent in the New World Porcupine family. The beaver is the only rodent in North America that is larger than the North American Porcupine.

The Porcupine’s most recognizable physical characteristic is its spiky quills. They can have as many as 30,000 quills covering their bodies and use them as a defense against predators. Despite popular belief, Porcupines cannot shoot their quills. The quills of the North American Porcupine have a tiny barb on the tip that, when hooked in flesh, pull the quill from the Porcupine’s skin and painfully imbed it in a predator’s face, paws or body.

Gestation lasts for 202 days. Porcupines give birth to a single young. At birth, they weigh about 450 g, which increases to nearly 1 kg after the first two weeks. They do not gain full adult weight until about two years old.

At birth, the quills are very soft. They begin to harden a few hours after birth and continue to harden and grow as the baby matures.

Female Porcupines provide all the maternal care. For the first two weeks, the young rely on their mother for sustenance. After this, they learn to climb trees and start to forage. They continue to nurse for up to four months, which coincides with the fall mating season. They stay close to their mothers.

The North American Porcupine is listed as “Least Concern” on the IUCN Red List. It is common throughout its range, except in some U.S. states in the southeast part of its range. However, they are threatened by hunting and habitat loss. As of 1994, it was listed as an endangered species in Mexico.


Snow Leopard Cubs Pick Their Own Names

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The three Snow Leopard cubs, born March 5 at the Akron Zoo, made their first public appearance on June 3, 2016.

The cubs were also recently allowed to pick their own names! The two males are now named: Layan, (short for Himalayan Mountains), and Altai (named after the Altai Mountains). Snow Leopards are indigenous to both mountain ranges. The female cub is named Asha, which means “Hope” in Sanskrit.

The zoo had narrowed down the names to six possible choices and wrote each name on an enrichment item container. The six containers were placed in the Snow Leopard exhibit. The cubs were then released into the exhibit area and allowed to approach the toys. The cubs went to the enrichment items with ‘Layan’, ‘Altai’ and ‘Asha’ first, thus picking their own names. The people who submitted the winning names will be getting free admission to the zoo and a Snow Leopard prize pack.

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4_13416919_10153693677865866_5542965812854535470_oPhoto Credits: Akron Zoo

The cubs are 13 weeks old and weigh about 10-11 pounds. They will be on exhibit daily with their mother, Shanti, from 10 a.m. – 11 a.m. As the cubs grow and become more comfortable with their surroundings they will be on exhibit for longer periods of time. When the cubs are not on exhibit, their father, Roscoe, will be outside in the exhibit.

This is the third litter for mom Shanti, but her first set of triplets. The triplets are also a first for Akron Zoo.

The Snow Leopard (Panthera uncia) is classified as “Endangered” by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), the world’s oldest and largest global environmental organization.

A leading Snow Leopard conservation organization, the Snow Leopard Trust, estimates population numbers of this elusive cat to be between 4,000 and 6,500 remaining in the wild. They inhabit high, rugged mountainous regions of central Asia, including Afghanistan, Pakistan, India, Nepal, Bhutan, Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyz Republic, Tajikistan, China, Mongolia, and Russia. Their numbers are declining due to human influence, such as poaching for medicinal markets and hides, depletion of their prey base, retribution killing following livestock losses, residential and commercial development, and civil unrest.

Snow Leopards' long, thick fur not only keeps them warm in the cold climates of the mountainous regions they inhabit, but also helps camouflage them in their environment, allowing them to sneak up on their prey. A 40-inch-long tail aids Snow Leopards in balancing while navigating rocky terrain, and they wrap it around them to keep warm at night. Their large paws are covered with a cushion of hair that increases surface area and acts like insulating snow shoes.

Snow Leopards make sounds like other big cats, but they cannot roar. Instead, they make a sound called a “chuff.” They are solitary animals, although a male and female Snow Leopard may be seen during mating season or a female with her young cubs before they venture out on their own at about 2 years of age.

The species has a gestation period of 90 to 100 days. Offspring are fully weaned at about ten weeks of age but will remain with their mother until they become independent at around 18-22 months.

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Baby Macaque Gets Lots of Attention

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A baby Sulawesi Crested Macaque at the Chester Zoo is getting a lot of attention – from the other 15 members of the zoo’s Macaque troop, and from conservationists concerned with protecting this critically endangered species.

Born on May 29, the little Monkey clings to its mother Camilla as other Macaques gather around with intense interest in the baby.  So far, Camilla is proving to be a good mother, even though this baby is her first.

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A five-day-old Sulawesi crested macaque clings to first-time mum Camilla at Chester Zoo (5)Photo Credit:  Chester Zoo
 
Found only on the Indonesian island of Sulawesi, roughly 5,000 Sulawesi Crested Macaques remain in the island’s rain forests.  Despite its threatened status, this species is still hunted regularly as a pest because it destroys crops in search of food.  They are also hunted as bushmeat.  Large-scale destruction of forests has dramatically reduced available habitat for these fruit- and leaf-eating Macaques.

Sulawesi Crested Macaques also live on some smaller, less-populated islands near Sulawesi, where they enjoy less pressure from humans.  Six other macaque species live on Sulawesi, but this species is the most critically endangered.

This new baby is an important addition to European zoos' breeding program to preserve genetic diversity in endangered species. 

See more photos of the baby Macaque below.

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Critically Endangered Lemurs Born at Nashville Zoo

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Three curious and active Red Ruffed Lemur babies born at the Nashville Zoo are a boost to this critically endangered species.

The two females and one male were born on May 24, the eighth birthday of their mother, Lyra.  Red Ruffed Lemurs are largest of all Lemur species, weighing up to 10 pounds as adults.   Some Lemurs carry their babies, but Red Ruffed Lemurs leave their young in a nest, with the mother visiting the nest often to nurse and care for her babies.   Zoo keepers expect the babies to emerge from the nest soon.

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27397947625_fb26a375dc_oPhoto Credit:  Nashville Zoo

All Lemurs are native only to the African island of Madagascar, which has undergone dramatic ecological change in the past several decades.  Illegal logging, burning of forests, cyclones, and illegal hunting have reduced available habitat and plunged Lemur populations into serious decline.  Scientists estimate that only 1,000-10,000 Red Ruffed Lemurs remain in the wild. 

About 600 Red Ruffed Lemurs live in zoos around the world.  The Nashville Zoo participates in the Red Ruffed Lemur Species Survival Plan, a cooperative program to maintain genetically healthy populations of endangered animals in zoos. 

 


Royally Giant Baby Debuts at Cotswold Wildlife Park

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A Giant Anteater baby made his debut at Cotswold Wildlife Park. The pup, named Nelson, is the second breeding success for parents Zorro and Zeta since their arrival at the Burford Collection in 2010. Keepers named the newborn after the late singer, Prince Rogers Nelson.

Curator of Cotswold Wildlife Park, Jamie Craig, commented, “Zeta has again proved to be an excellent and diligent mother. We are extremely proud of her here at the Park and it is great to see another healthy baby growing rapidly and exploring his surroundings from the safety of his mother's rather formidable back!” 2_Nelson asleep

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Giant Anteaters (Myrmecophaga tridactyla) are the largest of the four Anteater species and boast one of the most fascinating tongues in the animal kingdom. They are specialist predators of termites and ants and may consume tens of thousands of these tiny nutritious insects every day. Anteaters are edentate animals; they have no teeth. Ant and termite nests are ripped open with their powerful claws, and the tongue acts as animated flypaper. These tongues can protrude more than 2 feet (60 cm) to capture prey. Ants possess a painful sting when attacked, so Anteaters have to eat quickly. They do so by flicking their tongue up to 160 times per minute to avoid being stung. An Anteater may spend only a minute feasting on each mound. They never destroy a nest, preferring to return and feed again in the future.

Anteaters are generally solitary animals, except during the mating season. After a gestation period of around 190 days, the female produces a single pup, which weighs approximately 1.3kg. The female gives birth standing up and the young Anteater immediately climbs onto her back. The young are born with a full coat of hair and adult-like markings, aligning with their mother’s camouflaging. A mother will carry the baby on her back for approximately 6 to 9 months (until it is almost half her size). The young suckle for 2 to 6 months and become independent after roughly 2 years, or when the mother becomes pregnant again.

Giant Anteaters are prey for Jaguars and Pumas in the wild. They typically flee from danger by galloping away, but if cornered, they use their immense front claws to defend themselves, rearing up on their hind legs, striking their attacker violently with their powerful claws and are capable of inflicting fatal wounds to predators.

The Giant Anteater is considered to be the most threatened mammal of Central America and is feared extinct in Belize, El Salvador, Guatemala and Uruguay, according to the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN). Giant Anteaters are listed as “Vulnerable” on the IUCN’s Red List of Threatened Species. Habitat loss, roadkills, hunting and wildfires have substantially affected their population numbers over the last ten years. Scientists estimate that 5,000 individuals are left in the wild.

Visitors can see Cotswold’s Anteater family in the enclosure they share with the Capybaras and Crested Screamers– species also native to Central and South America.

More great pics, below the fold!

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Spring Is Doubly Sweet at Highland Wildlife Park

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As warm weather arrived, so did the annual birthing season at RZSS Highland Wildlife Park. The latest new arrivals at the Highlands are two Elk twins, born on May 15. With their long, gangly legs and adorably oversized ears, the youngsters are already stealing visitors’ hearts.

Elk became extinct in Scotland between 1,000 and 7,000 years ago, and are a perfect fit for the Highland Wildlife Park, which specialises in native species---past and present, as well as cold tundra animals from around the world. Elk can still be found in woodlands in the northern hemisphere, throughout Scandinavia and northern Russia. Elk are particularly good at running for long periods of time, fighting off predators (due to their size and powerful kicks) and swimming.

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4_DSC_1440Photo Credits: RZSS/Alex Riddell

Morag Sellar, Head Hoofed Stock Keeper at RZSS Highland Wildlife Park, said, “The twins are still a little shaky on their long legs, but they are already able to keep up with their mother Cas and run around for short distances. The youngsters will continue to suckle for the next five months whilst learning to forage. Although small now, they will grow to an impressive ten times their birth size.

“We are particularly proud of our success with Elk which was acknowledged at last year’s BIAZA (British and Irish Association of Zoos and Aquariums) Awards, where the Park received a silver award for the captive husbandry of European Elk/Moose.”

The Elk (Eurasia) or Moose (North America), Alces alces, is the largest extant species in the deer family. The palmate antlers of the males distinguish Elk/Moose; other members of the family have antlers with a dendritic ("twig-like") configuration. They typically inhabit boreal and mixed deciduous forests of the Northern Hemisphere in temperate to subarctic climates. The species used to have a much wider range but hunting and other human activities have greatly reduced it. Elk/Moose have been reintroduced to some of their former habitats. Currently, most are found in Canada, Alaska, New England, Scandinavia, Latvia, Estonia and Russia.

Their diet consists of both terrestrial and aquatic vegetation. Their most common predators are wolves, bears and humans. Unlike most other deer species, Elk/Moose are solitary animals and do not form herds. Although generally slow-moving and sedentary, they can become aggressive and move quickly if angered or startled. Their mating season in the autumn can lead to spectacular fights between males competing for a female.

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Zoo Santo Inácio Announces New Pygmy Hippo

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Zoo Santo Inácio, in northern Portugal, announced their newest family member, a male Pygmy Hippo.

After almost nine months of pregnancy, little Mendes (named by affectionate keepers) was born weighing just over 4 kilos (9 lbs).

For several months after the birth, Mendes and his mother, Romina, were kept off-exhibit, giving them opportunity to bond. The time alone also allowed the new calf to practice swimming and learn other essential skills.

At three months old and 20 kilos heavier, Mendes and his mother can now be seen, on-exhibit, enjoying their mornings outside.

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4_ZSI.cria.hipopotamo (6)Photo Credits: Zoo Santo Inacio

 

The Pygmy Hippopotamus (Choeropsis liberiensis or Hexaprotodon liberiensis) is a small hippopotamid, native to the forests and swamps of West Africa, primarily in Liberia, with small populations in Sierra Leone, Guinea, and Ivory Coast.

They are reclusive and nocturnal and one of only two extant species in the family Hippopotamidae, the other being its much larger cousin the common hippopotamus (Hippopotamus amphibius).

The Pygmy Hippo displays many terrestrial adaptations, but like its larger cousin, it is semi-aquatic and relies on water to keep its skin moist and its body temperature cool. Behaviors such as mating and giving birth may occur in water or on land.

They are herbivorous, feeding on ferns, broad-leaved plants, grasses, and fruits it finds in the forests.

In captivity, Pygmy Hippos have been conceived and born in all months of the year. The gestation period ranges from 190–210 days, and usually a single young is born.

The Common Hippopotamus gives birth and mates only in the water, but Pygmy Hippos mate and give birth on both land and water. Their young can swim almost immediately. At birth, they weigh 4.5–6.2 kg (9.9–13.7 lb) with males weighing about 0.25 kg (0.55 lb) more than females. They are fully weaned between six and eight months of age (before weaning they hide in the water by themselves, when mother leaves to forage for food). Suckling occurs with the mother lying on her side.

The Pygmy Hippo is classified as “Endangered” by IUCN (International Union for Conservation of Nature). The main threats to these herbivores are deforestation due to rubber plantations, palm oil and coffee; hunting for its meat and its skull (used in traditional medicine and rituals); and civil strife. The World Conservation Union estimates there are fewer than 3,000 individuals remaining in the wild.

Zoo Santo Inácio joined the cause for protecting the Pygmy Hippo in 2006 with the receipt of a female, Romina, and two years later, with the arrival of a male, the Kibwana. The breeding couple entered an important European Programme for Endangered Species Breeding (EEP), led by the European Association of Zoos and Aquariums (EAZA).

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