Rare & Endangered Pygmy Hippopotamus Born in Toronto Zoo (Watch Video)
Rare pygmy hippo takes birth in Toronto zoo. (Toronto Zoo/Twitter)

Toronto Zoo is celebrating the birth of a rare and endangered pygmy hippopotamus. Kindia, a 12-year-old female, gave birth to a female calf late Friday night, Toronto Zoo announced on their Facebook page. This recent birth is important for pygmy hippopotamus conservation as the species is listed as Endangered on the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List of Threatened Species. The zoo says that there are only about 2,000 to 3,000 left in the wild in West Africa, mostly in Liberia. Small numbers are also found in neighbouring Sierra Leone, Guinea and Ivory Coast.

The zoo states a pygmy hippopotamus’ gestation period is about 180 – 210 days, after which a single calf is born. Kindia was moved from public viewing into a maternity area within the Pygmy Hippo Habitat where video cameras were set in place for Wildlife Care to monitor her closely. While the calf appears to be healthy and feeding well, the first 30 days will be critical for both mom and calf. Toronto Zoo Wildlife Care staff will continue to closely monitor Kindia and her calf in the maternity area, which is not visible to the public at this time.

Watch Video: Toronto Zoo Pygmy Hippo Calf with Mom Kindia

Kindia arrived to the Toronto Zoo from Parc Zoologique de La Fleche in Sarthe, France in June 2016 as part of a global breeding program. This is Kindia’s first surviving calf and was sired by Harvey, 23-year-old male. This is the seventh birth of pygmy hippopotamus in Toronto Zoo’s history and the first pygmy hippo birth since 1999. Over the past 100 years, the pygmy hippo’s habitat has declined dramatically because of logging, farming and human settlement. As deforestation continues and their habitat becomes more fragmented, newly accessible populations are coming under increasing pressure from hunters.