Pygmy Hippo Born at San Diego Zoo for First Time in 30 Years

The San Diego Zoo announced the successful birth of an endangered pygmy hippo calf, the zoo’s first in more than 30 years, on May 15, in recognition of Endangered Species Day.

On April 9, a four-year-old pygmy hippo named Mabel gave birth to the healthy male calf, the zoo announced. Wildlife specialists said that within hours of being born, the calf was standing, walking, and following behind his mother. Over the last two months, the 25-pound calf has been “getting lots of attention” from his mother and developing important skills, like swimming underwater.

The calf, who has not yet been named, was deemed healthy by the zoo’s experts on Friday, spurring the announcement. This video shows the calf closing his nostrils and holding his breath underwater, a milestone for the young animal. He is now allowed to swim in the full pool rather than just the shallow sections.

Pygmy hippos are listed as endangered on the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List of Threatened Species. Only 2,500 still exist in their four native countries, the zoo said in a press release. Credit: San Diego Zoo via Storyful