baby hippo

Tanganyika Welcomes Its Newest Cute Baby Hippo

“I want a hippo for Christmas” has taken on a whole new meaning as Tanganyika Wildlife Park welcomed the birth of a baby hippo. Weighing only 13 lbs at birth, the male calf was born to parents Posie and Pluto on December 14th. This new arrival is the fourth baby hippo born at Tanganyika.   

13 Surprising Hippo Facts

Often overshadowed by their larger Nile relatives, these adorable creatures have unique characteristics that make them truly captivating. As we uncover these hippo facts, we’ll draw comparisons to Nile, or common hippos, shedding light on the lesser-known aspects of the pygmy hippo‘s life.  
baby hippo
The newest member of our family
  • Size Matters: the hippo weight of Pygmy hippos is very different from Nile Hippos. Pygmy Hippos weigh between 400 and 600 pounds. But our new baby hippo weight was just 13 pounds at birth. 
 
  • Habitat Preferences: Unlike Nile hippos, pygmy hippos are found in West African rainforests, showcasing their need for water and shelter while still roaming in search of food.
 
  • Territorial Behavior: While Nile hippos exhibit territorial aggression, pygmy hippos are more solitary, engaging in less confrontational interactions.
 
  • Adaptability to Land: Pygmy hippos, with their smaller size and longer legs, display greater agility on land compared to their larger counterparts.
 
  • Nocturnal Lifestyle: Like Nile hippos, pygmy hippos are primarily nocturnal, venturing out at night to graze on vegetation to avoid predators and the daytime heat.
 
  • Dietary Preferences: herbivores like Pygmy hippos, mainly consume grasses, fruits, and plants, showcasing their distinct dietary preferences.
 
  • Social Structure: In contrast to the social pods of Nile hippos, pygmy hippos are more solitary, coming together primarily during the mating season.
 
  • Parental Care: Much like Nile hippos, pygmy hippos are devoted parents, investing time and effort into raising their young, particularly protective of their calves.
 
  • Threatened Species: Pygmy hippos, classified as endangered, face habitat loss and poaching threats, underscoring the need for conservation efforts to ensure their survival.
 
  • Unique Skin Characteristics: Pygmy hippos possess unique skin adaptations, secreting a natural sunscreen to protect their sensitive skin during prolonged periods out of the water.
 
  • Vocalizations: Similar to Nile hippos, pygmy hippos communicate through grunts, honks, and wheezes, expressing various emotions and marking territory.
 
  • Life Expectancy: In accredited zoological facilities, pygmy hippos often outlive their wild counterparts, reaching their mid-30s, highlighting the differences in lifespan compared to Nile hippos.
 
  • Conservation Efforts: Conservation initiatives are vital for both pygmy and Nile hippos, emphasizing the importance of awareness, habitat preservation, and anti-poaching measures.
  Peeking into the world of pygmy hippos has unveiled some captivating hippo facts, showcasing the unique charm of these adorable creatures. Join us in our commitment to preservation and explore the delightful life of a baby hippo by checking out our blog.   

What You Need To Know About Tanganyika’s Pygmy Hippo Population 

Meet Posie and Pluto, the beloved pygmy hippo couple at Tanganyika Wildlife Park in Kansas, who have been joyfully calling the park home since 2014. These pygmy hippos recently celebrated the birth of their fourth calf, a testament to Tanganyika’s commitment to the preservation of these rare and critically endangered species. In this blog, we’ll delve into the fascinating details of Tanganyika’s pygmy hippo population, from the significance of each baby hippo to the park’s crucial role in global conservation efforts.
hippo facts
Baby Hippo in its temporary enclosure
  Hope for a Species: Posie and Pluto’s latest addition brings hope for the preservation of critically endangered pygmy hippos. With fewer than 3,000 known individuals worldwide, every birth is a crucial step in ensuring the ongoing survival of this remarkable species. Tanganyika Wildlife Park stands at the forefront of this effort, highlighting the importance of cooperative breeding programs with other accredited zoological facilities.   The Importance of Male Hippos: In the realm of pygmy hippo preservation, there have been more female births than male births recently. This latest addition holds even greater importance, contributing to the genetic diversity of the population and furthering the sustainability of the species. Posie and Pluto play a vital role in this program, emphasizing Tanganyika’s dedication to the long-term well-being of pygmy hippos.   Expert Insights: Dr. Samantha Russak, Tanganyika’s Chief of Research and Welfare, emphasizes the critical nature of every pygmy hippo birth. Tanganyika Wildlife Park, one of only 30 facilities in the United States housing pygmy hippos, plays a pivotal role in preserving this rare species. Dr. Russak’s insights provide a deeper understanding of the challenges and successes in managing pygmy hippos in human care.   Generational Legacy: Beyond Posie and Pluto’s new arrival, Tanganyika has welcomed three other pygmy hippo calves in recent years, including Nessie in 2017, Yeti in 2019, and Link in 2021. Nessie has even taken on the role of a parent herself, creating a heartwarming generational legacy that makes Posie and Pluto proud grandparents.  

Come Visit Tanganyika Wildlife Park and See Our Adorable Baby Hippo

pygmy hippo
pygmy hippo
During the park’s operating season from March through November, guests can see our Pygmy Hippo family in their habitat, learn hippo facts, as well as get up close and personal during the daily Hippo Feeding, where guests have the chance to toss carrots into a hippo’s mouth. Feedings are included with every ticket to Tanganyika. Meet and feed lemurs, giraffes, birds, reptiles and so much more. Dr. Russak emphasized, “The support and engagement of our visitors are crucial in creating awareness about the importance of preserving endangered species like the pygmy hippopotamus.”    Currently, Posie and the baby hippo are bonding behind the scenes in their indoor habitats. SIGN UP HERE to be the first to know about behind-the-scenes tours and other opportunities to meet our new calf and the rest of our hippo family.

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