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
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I love all pets. I wouldn’t be a veterinarian if I didn’t, and I celebrate the human-animal bond every day. I do look forward, though, to the day when these five breeds aren’t as popular. The reasons vary, but in many cases the problems are health-related, and overbreeding by puppy mills and other less-than-ideal operations has a lot to do with that. What would help these breeds is for there to be a lot less of them. A couple of them need many more adopters and far less breeding, and all would benefit from people who are well-prepared for the challenges of owning a dog, and who make sure to look to rescue, shelters and reputable breeders for their pets. As always, whatever pet you choose, we veterinarians are here to help you make healthy choices for life.
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