CHESTERFIELD COUNTY, Va. -- A rare pygmy hippo was born at the Metro Richmond Zoo, owner Jim Andelin announced Monday. The calf was born in late July to parents Iris and Corwin, he added.
"The baby is doing well and growing rapidly. This is the first pygmy hippo calf to be born at the Zoo and in Virginia," Andelin said. "The pygmy hippo is a rare, endangered species native to West Africa. With only 3,000 individuals left in the wild, their survival in zoological parks is more certain than their survival in the wild. This birth plays a vital role in helping protect this incredible species."
The baby hippo weighed in at 14.5 pounds, Andelin said. They can grow to up to 600 pounds.
"Iris is a fantastic mother. Initially, she and the calf stayed in a super comfy, hay-bedded enclosure so they could have privacy to bond and allow time for the baby to grow stronger," he said. "When the baby was two weeks old, it was time for her first swim. We moved mom and baby into the indoor pool area and lowered the water level so the baby’s head could stay above the water. Iris and her baby quickly entered the water, and they loved playing in the pool."
Andelin said zoo guests could see the baby through viewing windows.