The birth of a pygmy hippopotamus in late May/early June at Melbourne Zoo in Victoria, Australia, was much welcomed as the male calf was the first to be born there since 1981.
Named Obi, meaning ‘heart’ in Nigerian Igbo language, the male calf has been showing all the signs of good development and health in the company of his mother Petre.
Obi has been exercising his swimming legs in the shallow, nursery pool since birth, but he’s strong enough to now move on to the deeper, main pool. The video below from Zoos Victoria shows Obi splashing around in his first swim in the big pool.
The pygmy hippopotamus (Choeropsis liberiensis) is an endangered species with habitat loss and illegal poaching threatening its existence in the wild.
Small as he is now, Obi is expected to grow to about 70-80 centimeters (2.3-2.6 feet) tall and to weigh around 250 kilograms (551 pounds) when he reaches full maturity – only about quarter of the height and weight of a full-sized hippopotamus.