Rare pygmy hippo makes debut in Tampa
There are fewer than 3,000 left in the wild.
The Lowry Park Zoo is celebrating an early holiday gift this season: the birth of a rare pygmy hippopotamus.
The female calf, who weighed only 10 pounds when she was born just before Thanksgiving, is thriving at the Tampa zoo. She's the second baby for mother Zsa Zsa.
This kind of hippo is much smaller than its relative, the Nile hippo. When it's full grown, an adult pygmy hippo stands only about 3 feet tall at the shoulder and weighs between 350 and 550 pounds.
"With fewer than 3,000 pigmy hippos in the wild, each birth is vital if we have any hope of saving this truly unique species,” says Dr. Larry Killmar, the zoo's vice president of animal science and conservation.
The calf doesn't have a name yet, but the zoo just closed a naming contest that invited fans to pick one of three monikers: Zawadi ("gift"), Zola ("to love") or Zuri ("beautiful"). Stay tuned, and we'll let you know which name got the most votes!
Photo: David Parkinson
Bing: Get the latest zoo news.
More from Vetstreet:
10 most popular kitten names of 2012
Boy pens heartbreaking letter after shelter mistakenly euthanizes his cat
10 cat and dog breeds with magical beginnings
5 dog breeds losing popularity
Only three types of dogs need sweaters
pics, advice, info and stories for pet lovers
Hero dog discovers baby left in a bag, receives honor
The adorable pair of kittens who shut down a New York subway get to stay together after all
An Arizona dog gets a second chance thanks to the kindness of a passerby
Cutest animal alive?
Loki is fourth dog firefighter has saved by mouth-to-mouth resuscitation
World Wildlife Foundation reports 441 new species discovered in Amazon rainforest