Did you know that there are only about 2,000 to 2,500 Pygmy Hippopotamuses left in the wild?
That’s why it’s so important to protect the existing Pygmy Hippopotami or else they will be extinct.
They are found in West Africa usually in Liberia and in the neighboring countries of Sierra Leone and The Ivory Coast.
They’re as cute as can be.
Thankfully, zoos all over the world have been protecting these species so they don’t become extinct.
At Melbourne Zoo, they have adopted two pygmy hippopotamuses.
Thankfully, they gave birth to the first pygmy hippo born in Melbourne Zoo since 1981.
The zoo keepers have named him Obi, which means “heart” in the Nigerian Igbo language.
He’s being kept under watchful eyes.
Because he is the first pygmy hippo born since 1981, the staff are monitoring his progress, as well as his mother, Petre, 24/7.
“[We’re] just making sure he’s suckling strongly and continuing to put on a lot of weight, he’s putting on about half kilo a day,” Sarah Frith, a vet at the zoo, said.
They continued to monitor Obi, Petre, and Felix to keep them alive and off the extinct list.
Three weeks after coming into the world, Obi finally made his very first public appearance.
He was ready to swim.
Together with his mother, Obi walked over to the big pool to swim for the first time.
At this point, Obi already weighed around 13 kg.
He was a natural in the pool.
“He loves the water and spends hours in the small pool, so he is ready for the next step,” wild sea manager Justin Valentine said. But “he’s only little so about 10 to 15 minutes and he’s a bit tired and he has to take a break. And then he’s back into it right away.”
At first, he ventured out on his own, paddling with his legs underwater and above water.
He did this for a while before he joined Petre and swam nearby.
When the water was shallow enough, Obi would walk underwater and under Petre.
Petre would caress her son while he passed her underwater.
Watching them together is so heartwarming.
You could really tell Obi was a natural because, despite his first time swimming, he was already experimenting with different ways to swim.
Obi isn’t Petre’s first baby.
Obi is actually the fourth child of Petre and the first child of Petre with Felix.
Her first three babies were with different mates.
Because he was born in this program, Obi now becomes part of the international breeding program for their species.
The truth is the exact number of pygmy hippopotamuses that still live in the wilds of West Africa cannot be determined.
They live deep in the rainforest.
Their habitat isn’t totally accessible by the researchers, but rest assured, researchers are doing their best to keep these species off the extinct and endangered list.