A tiny Endangered pygmy hippo calf has been born at the Royal Zoological Society of Scotland's Edinburgh Zoo to visitor favourites Otto and Gloria.
The female calf arrived on Saturday 17 April and staff at the wildlife conservation charity will be keeping a close eye on the family as viewing gradually opens to visitors from today (Monday 3 May).
Jonny Appleyard, hoofstock team leader at Edinburgh Zoo, said, “Our new arrival is doing really well and is growing stronger and more confident every day.
“As she is still so young, we are limiting opening hours and numbers in our indoor viewing area to give the calf and mum Gloria some time to get used to visitors. The first 30 days are critical for her development, so we’ll be keeping a close eye on them both at this sensitive time and plan to name her in the coming weeks.”
Pygmy hippos are native to West Africa where populations are declining rapidly due to habitat destruction caused by logging, farming and human settlement among other threats. RZSS support for the species includes publishing the first ever genomic study of pygmy hippos through work in the RZSS WildGenes laboratory.
After reopening to local visitors earlier this year, Edinburgh Zoo was able to welcome back people from across the UK and open indoor areas again on 26 April, with a wide range of safety measures in place including restricted numbers and online advance booking required.
Jonny added, “It has been great to be able to welcome our wonderful visitors back to the zoo and hope it won't be long before they can spot our little calf.
“Every visit helps care for our amazing animals, like our pygmy hippos, and protects threatened species in Scotland and across the world.”
More information about visiting Edinburgh Zoo and how people can help care for the charity’s animals is available at edinburghzoo.org.uk/we-are-open.