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Rare Pygmy Hippo Birth at Athens Zoo Has Staff 'Absolutely Thrilled': 'Extremely Important'

The pygmy hippo was born weighing 15.4 lbs. on Feb. 19 at Attica Zoological Park in Athens, Greece

<p>James D. Morgan/Getty Images</p> A baby Pygmy Hippo calf at Taronga Zoo on Dec. 9, 2021 in Sydney, Australia

James D. Morgan/Getty Images

A baby Pygmy Hippo calf at Taronga Zoo on Dec. 9, 2021 in Sydney, Australia

A rare pygmy hippopotamus has been born in a zoo in Athens, Greece.

According to Reuters, the birth marked Attica Zoological Park’s first pygmy hippo in 10 years.

The zoo’s wildlife veterinarian, Noi Psaroudaki, told the outlet that staff were "absolutely thrilled" to discover that the pygmy hippo was a baby boy after breeding efforts were made difficult by a lack of male pygmy hippos in captivity.

“This is the first birth in the zoo in 2024, and what a birth!,” said Psaroudaki.

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“Every captive birth of pygmy hippos is extremely important. We’re very happy to see this baby grow into a healthy adult hippo, and hopefully one day reproduce,” she added.

According to Reuters, the baby weighed 15.4 lbs. when born on Feb. 19 to parents Lizzie and Jamal.

The calf, the only pygmy hippo at the zoo, will have his name go to a vote. He will also stay with his mother for a few months before being allowed in the zoo’s outdoor space.

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In a video shared by NBC News, the baby was captured walking around the zoo. A vet also placed a stethoscope on the calf’s body to check the sounds of internal organs.

The baby also appeared to be resting in hay behind a parent before the video captured a vet checking his sounds.

According to an international conservation charity, ZSL, there were only 2,000-2,500 pygmy hippos in 1993.

They were also classified as endangered on the International Union for Conservation of Nature Red list of threatened species in 2015.

Swamps and rainforests in western Africa are Pygmy hippos’ natural habitat.

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