Bristol Zoo Gardens celebrate arrival of baby pygmy hippo

Bristol Zoo Gardens celebrate the arrival of baby pygmy hippo. Credit: PA

Keepers at Bristol Zoo Gardens are are celebrating the birth of a baby pygmy hippo.

The calf, which has not yet been named or sexed, was born three weeks ago and is now hanging out with its mother Sirana and father Nato in the zoo's pygmy hippo enclosure.

The youngster spends its days sleeping, eating and swimming around the exhibit's heated pool and stays very close to its mother. The zoo's hippo house will reopen to the public soon following a period of closure to let Sirana and Nato settle down into their new parenting roles.

Lynsey Bugg, assistant curator of mammals at the zoo, said: "The calf is looking very strong and it certainly feeds well.

The youngster stays close to mum Sirana at all times. Credit: PA
The pygmy hippo is endangered in the wild. Credit: PA

Less than 2,000 pygmy hippos are thought to be left in the wild, with the destruction of forests in countries such a Liberia destroying their natural habitats.

Bristol Zoo Gardens is part of an international captive breeding programme for the species.

"The European programme is a well-established and very successful programme and our male, Nato, is a genetically important animal; by default, so will be his offspring," Ms Bugg added.