Taronga’s rare Pygmy Hippo calf, named Kamina, continues to thrive, having reached 37kgs and growing steadily under the watchful eye of her parents and keepers. At three months old, the calf is still relying on her mother’s milk but now starting to eat hay and other greens.
Keepers expect she will reach 260kgs like her mother over the next two years, and are thrilled with her progress, as well as her confidence swimming in the family pond.
“Initially, we filled the pond only to 40cm deep to help Kamina develop confidence swimming, and as her confidence has increased so has the pond. She is absolutely enjoying every moment – which means the best chance to see her is before the end of lunch,” said Keeper, Gabe Virgona.
“Every morning, the family come out of their forest and pond habitat so that it can be cleaned. When that happens, we have a chance to weigh them and check their health, and although they’re getting used to the routine it’s very clear that Kamina is keen to get back to having fun,” said Gabe.
“When she does return, her enthusiasm for swimming leaves her absolutely exhausted, so she falls fast asleep from about 2pm.”
Native to the forests and swamps of West Africa, Pygmy Hippos are endangered with as few as 2-3,000 remaining in the wild. Their habitats are threatened by logging, as well as poaching and armed conflict across the region. Consequently, little is known about them in the wild, with the majority of research recorded about them learned from those cared in zoos. Taronga’s Pygmy Hippo calf will have an important role as a mum herself one day, helping to continue the conservation and protection of her species.
Kamina and her family can be found along Taronga’s Rainforest Trail.