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First Endangered Pygmy Hippo Born At San Diego Zoo In 30 Years

Staff at the San Diego Zoo are celebrating after welcoming its first successful pygmy hippopotamus birth in more than 30 years.

Mabel, a four-year-old pygmy hippo, gave birth to her first calf in April.

The new addition is yet to be named, however the zoo said in a statement that it stood and walked alongside its mother within just hours of being born.

First Endangered Pygmy Hippo Born At San Diego Zoo In 30 YearsSan Diego Zoo

‘Mom and calf are doing very well,’ the zoo said in a statement, adding, ‘the calf is nursing and getting lots of attention from the first-time mother.’

The baby was born weighing 12 pounds, and now weighs in at a healthy 25 pounds.

Pygmy hippos are considered as Endangered on the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List of Threatened Species.

There are fewer than 2,500 pygmy hippos still living in Africa, and usually reside in rivers and streams located in West African forests, primarily in Liberia. There are, however, small populations in Sierra Leone, Guinea and Ivory Coast.

First Endangered Pygmy Hippo Born At San Diego Zoo In 30 YearsSan Diego Zoo

In order to prepare for the birth of the baby, wildlife specialists placed a small, shallow tub in the indoor Lost Forest area of the zoo.

The zoo said:

The calf demonstrated the natural adaptations and instincts of pygmy hippos—to close their nostrils and to hold their breath under water—and today, both Mabel and the calf have full access to the pool in the maternity yard.