Bristol Zoo Gardens has welcomed a newborn baby pygmy hippopotamus into the world.
The calf was born three weeks ago at the UK zoo and currently resides with its parents Sirana and Nato in the Hippo House.
The baby is yet to be named. The zoo does not yet know if the calf is male or female. When born, they usually just weigh 4.5-6.4 kilograms (10-14 pounds). Even when fully grown, they only reach around 142-175 centimeters (4.7-5.7 feet) and weigh just a quarter of a full-sized common hippopotamus.
“The calf is looking very strong and it certainly feeds well,” Lynsey Bugg, Bristol Zoo’s assistant curator of mammals, said in a statement.
She added: “Like any youngster, it wants to be close to Mum at all times and is often seen by her side. It spends short periods of time in the water but is not quite as good at swimming as its parents so we often see Mum Sirana guiding her little one back into the shallow water.”
Pygmy hippos primarily live in Liberia, West Africa, although small populations can be found in neighboring countries such as Sierra Leone, Guinea and Ivory Coast.
Unfortunately, the species is under massive threat. Estimates of their population vary, however most sources believe there are around 2,000 to 3,000 left in the wild. The main factors threatening the species include loss of natural habitat, poaching for bushmeat, natural predators, and the area’s recent civil wars.
Due to the species' decline, Bristol Zoo Gardens is part of an international captive breeding program to help save the species from extinction.
Speaking about the program, Lynsey Bugg said, “The European program is a well-established and very successful program and our male, Nato, is a genetically important animal; by default, so will be his offspring.”
This birth in the U.K. comes in the same month a pygmy hippopotamus was also born at San Diego Zoo.
Not much is known about their behavior in the wild. Although, you’ll be pleased to hear that pygmy hippos are not considered to be as ferocious as their larger cousin, the common hippopotamus.
More amazing baby news. A tiny baby pygmy hippo has been born at the Zoo. https://t.co/TOpQHzx7Nm pic.twitter.com/RU85S4wU1F
— Bristol Zoo Gardens (@BristolZooGdns) November 20, 2015