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Sydney, Taronga Zoo: Adorable moment baby pygmy hippo smooches her mother


Adorable moment a happy baby pygmy hippo smooches her mother as the endangered creatures debut at an Australian zoo

  • Newborn pygmy hippo made her adorable debut at Taronga Zoo on Thursday
  • Calf is learning how to walk and swim with encouragement from mum Kambiri 
  • The zoo welcomed its first calf in four years as part of conservation efforts  
  • Sydney zoo shared a picture of the adorable hippo nuzzling up to her mother 


A tiny pygmy hippo has shared an adorable kiss with her mother as the rare newborn calf made her public debut at an Australian zoo. 

Sydney’s Taronga Zoo on Friday shared a picture of the yet-to-be-named pygmy hippo in the water nuzzling up to her mum Kambiri.

‘Just some hippo kisses for your … afternoon,’ the zoo wrote on Facebook. ‘You’re so welcome.’ 

The pygmy hippo, whose father is called Fergus, is the first birth at the famous harbourside zoo in four years. 

A tiny pygmy hippo has shared an adorable kiss with her mother as the calf made her public debut at Sydney’s Taronga Zoo on Thursday

The newborn pygmy hippo - has made her debut at Sydney's Taronga Zoo on Thursday (pictured)

The newborn pygmy hippo – has made her debut at Sydney’s Taronga Zoo on Thursday (pictured)

Zoo director Simon Duffy says baby pygmy hippos ‘are like a small watermelon on little, tiny legs’.

‘They are so beautiful,’ he said.

The pygmy’s arrival marks an important milestone for the conservation efforts to protect the endangered West African species, senior keeper Renae Moss said.

‘There’s fewer than 3,000 of them left in the wild, so every birth in a zoo is extremely valuable to help bolster that population to ensure that we don’t lose the species all together,’ she said.

The baby hippo had spent the previous two weeks in an off-exhibit nursery den, learning to walk and swim under the watchful eye of her mum.

Watching her graduate to the big exhibit was thrilling for Ms Moss – who says the calf was initially hesitant to go into the pool, but eventually took the plunge with a little encouragement from mum.

Born to mum Kambiri and dad Fergus, the pygmy hippo is the first birth at the zoo in four years

Born to mum Kambiri and dad Fergus, the pygmy hippo is the first birth at the zoo in four years

‘As the calf masters the art of swimming and becomes more confident in and out of the water, we will begin to increase the depth of the pool and remove some baby proofing,’ she said.

The pint-sized calf remains nameless and zookeepers are appealing to the public for help.

Options suggested by her keepers include Amara, which means ‘filled with beauty and grace’ and is of West African origin; Sierra after the country of Sierra Leone; and Sapo after the Sapo National Park in Sinoe County, Liberia.

The baby hippo has spent the last two weeks in an off-exhibit nursery den, learning to walk and swim

The baby hippo has spent the last two weeks in an off-exhibit nursery den, learning to walk and swim

Taronga Zoo are appealing to members of the public to help name the tiny calf

Taronga Zoo are appealing to members of the public to help name the tiny calf

Members of the public can submit their own suggestions through the zoo’s website.

Pygmy hippos are native to West Africa and are generally solitary animals, only coming together for breeding.

There are estimated to be between 2,000 to 3,000 pygmy hippos remaining in the wild – classifying the species as endangered, with numbers continuing to decline in the wild. 

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