‘Adorable’ baby pygmy hippo prepares to meet public as zoo reopens

‘Adorable’ baby pygmy hippo prepares to meet public as zoo reopens

A two-month-old pygmy hippo is getting used to his new surroundings as a zoo prepares to reopen to the public.

The calf, born on April 9 and named Akobi, has lived in a special maternity habitat with mum Mabel until now but has been transferred to the main pygmy hippo enclosure at San Diego Zoo, which reopens to the public on June 20.

The area is also inhabited by four monkeys, which live alongside the hippos in a mixed-species environment and will start to come into contact with Akobi over the next few days.

Leanne Klinski, wildlife care specialist for primates, said: “We’re excited to welcome guests back to the San Diego Zoo, so they can see this adorable calf who has brought his wildlife care team so much joy.

“Akobi is doing great at navigating the pygmy hippo habitat, and I look forward to seeing the interactions between him and the primates who live in this habitat, too.”

Akobi, who weighs 40 pounds, is the first calf born to Mabel and the first successful birth of a pygmy hippo at the zoo for 30 years.

Akobi’s name means ‘first-born’ in the Yoruba language (San Diego Zoo)
Akobi’s name means ‘first-born’ in the Yoruba language (San Diego Zoo)

His name means “first-born” in Yoruba, a language spoken in western Africa where pygmy hippos are found in the wild.

The species is classed as endangered with fewer than 2,500 left in Africa.

San Diego Zoo will reopen on Saturday having been closed since March 16 because of the coronavirus outbreak.

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