North Carolina

Pygmy hippopotamus born at the North Carolina Science Center: video

The Greensboro Science Center has shared a video of the endangered newborn animal. Greensboro Science Center

In an announcement filled with “pure fun and excitement,” a North Carolina science center has welcomed a new member to its animal family.

Greensboro Science Center female pygmy hippo Holly welcomed a calf, according to a May 26 Facebook post.

“The calf was born on May 24, 2023 to Holly (female) and Ralph (male), a pair recommended for breeding by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums’ Species Survival Plan program,” the center said, “making a milestone in the GSC zoo’s most recent expansion, Revolution Ridge.

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In a video shared by the center, Holly and her new calf stand in the mud, the impossibly small baby next to her already small mother.

Both are pygmy hippos, a different species from the common river hippo, which weighs only between 350 and 600 pounds, the center said. Pygmy hippos weigh between 7.5 and 14 pounds at birth, according to the San Diego Zoo Wildlife Alliance.

River hippos, by comparison, can weigh up to 4,000 pounds and are one of Africa’s most dangerous animals, reports Ultimate Kilimanjaro.

Pygmy hippos, by comparison, are one-sixth the size. They are native to West Africa, mainly Liberia, Sierra Leone, Guinea and Ivory Coast, according to the International Union for Conservation of Nature.

They are also extremely rare.

Pygmy hippos are endangered, making conservation efforts essential, the center said. Greensboro Science Center

Listed as endangered on the Red List of Threatened Species, there are only around 2,500 adult pygmy hippos in the wild, making breeding programs like the Species Survival Plan essential.

“Beginning Friday, May 26 at 2:00 p.m., viewing of the indoor hippo holding area will be intermittent…as we continue to monitor Holly and her new calf,” the center said.


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