Cute baby hippo born to cancer suffering mum

AFP Photo / Csaba Segesvari
What could be cuter than a baby hippo? A baby pygmy hippo, perhaps? This little chap, one of only a handful of pygmy hippos in Europe, was born on Boxing Day at Whipsnade Zoo, and the staff could not be more excited.

The calf’s mother, Flora, who was featured in ITV’s 'The Zoo,' was receiving treatment for a cancerous tumor in her mouth. Despite her health condition, Flora delivered a healthy baby.

Steve White, a Senior Keeper at the zoo, said the little bundle of joy was just a day late.

Flora’s calf was due on Christmas Day, but the little one kept us waiting until the evening of Boxing Day. We knew Flora must be going into labor because she went off her food – which never happens!”

“After a six-hour labor, the calf was born, a 7 kilo, perfect miniature of his mum. Since then, the baby hippo has been happily waddling around and seems to love spending time in water.”

“On his first weigh-in, he was so slippery it was like picking up a big bar of soap!” he said.

White also said the team at Whipsnade are extremely happy for Flora.

“We’re delighted for Flora, who has come through a difficult year and is now proving once again to be an attentive, experienced mum.”

“She’s contributed three calves to the European Endangered Species Breeding Programme and she’ll now retire from breeding.”

Choeropsis liberiensis, or pygmy hippos, are on the IUCN Red List of endangered species. Teams from the international charity ZSL are working in Sierra Leone and Liberia to help protect the animals.