A Baby Pygmy Hippo named Eve was the last birth of 2011 for Scotland's Edinburgh Zoo, with mom Ellen giving birth right on New Year’s Eve. Mom and baby seem to have a really strong bond. An excellent parent, Ellen gave birth to her first calf, another girl called Leishan, in 2009. Eve is a little shy and tends to stick close to her. Just this week something new happened -- the little one started venturing into her outdoor enclosure from the cozy pygmy hippo house, under the protective gaze of her mother.
Baby Eve grows in confidence every day, having tackled swimming lessons from mom just a few days after she was born. Surprisingly, given their love of water, pygmy hippos have to be taught how to swim.Very strong swimmers, Pygmy hippos are native to West Africa, and can often be spotted paddling around and making a splash in their enclosure at Edinburgh Zoo. Perfectly adapted to this love of the water, they have muscular valves that close their ears and nostrils when submerged.
Donald Gow, senior primate and hoofstock keeper at Edinburgh Zoo, said: “Pygmy hippos are endangered in the wild and numbers are declining, so it’s fantastic that Edinburgh Zoo has such a natural mom like Ellen. She’s got great maternal instincts."
Read pygmy hippo facts after the jump: