Adorable Polar Bear Cub at the Wilhelma Zoo
Lion Cubs at the Riverbanks Zoo

Rare Baby Pygmy Hippo

Sydney's Taronga Zoo is celebrating the recent birth of its first pygmy hippopotamus in 23 years.


Monifa was born about three weeks ago and weighs six kilograms or about thirteen pounds.When compared with a normal full sized adult hippo weighing between 3,000 - 4,500 kilograms (6,500 - 10,000 pounds) you get an idea of what a mini hippo Monifa really is.

Standing-side-on2(Above Photo Credit: Taronga Zoo)



Monifa was born about three weeks ago and weighs six kilograms.

The endangered hippos come from the lowland tropical forests of western Africa.

Senior zoo keeper Renae Zammit says the birth of Monifa is extremely important.

"There's less than 3,000 of them in the wild. Their population is declining all the time with wars and deforestation, pollution and all that sort of stuff," she said.

"Every hippo that's born in a zoo is helping to support the declining wild population."

Ms Zammit says Monifa is about the size of a small dog.

"Really small, she can fit into my two hands," she said.

"It's quite amazing when a lot of people see her they just go, "Oh my god, I can't imagine that it's that small!'."

She says the birth was a bit of a struggle for zoo keepers.

"Monifa was actually born backwards, a breech birth, so the labour was quite long and may have potentially caused her problems when she was born," she said.

"She should have been up and running within the first hour of her life but she was actually quite weak and couldn't stand up so we had to step in and help her and supply food."

Pygmy hippos are solitary animals so both parents have been returned to their own zoos.