BOSTON (CBS) — It’s an adorable “first” for the Franklin Park Zoo. A baby pygmy hippo is the first of its kind to be born at Zoo New England.
“The birth was a joyous moment marking the culmination of years of work, careful planning and dedication by the animal care and veterinary teams,” the zoo said in a statement.
He weighed 13 pounds at birth last week. The little one is not yet on exhibit; he’s still bonding with his mother, Cleopatra, behind the scenes.
Cleopatra previously gave birth to stillborn calves in 2018 and 2019 because of a prolonged labor, so the veterinary team induced her early this time.
“Each new birth contributes to the continued survival of this endangered species, and we are thrilled by this success,” Dr. Eric Baitchman of Zoo New England said.
Hip hip hooray! Meet #FPZoo's tiny new addition: a male pygmy hippo. 🦛💚Born Oct. 5, this arrival marks the first ever successful birth of this endangered species at ZNE! Mom & baby are bonding behind-the-scenes before making an exhibit debut. Learn more: https://t.co/abbqFZhYb6 pic.twitter.com/SCFSj3EjoX
— Zoo New England (@zoonewengland) October 13, 2020
The zoo said he is nursing and was able to hold his head up right away. The baby has not been named yet.
It’s estimated that there are fewer than 2,500 pygmy hippos left in their native West African rainforests as their habitats are threatened by humans.