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Monday, July 25, 2011

Hipp-oh so sweet: Rare newborn pygmy hippopotamus is Tokyo zoo's star attraction


Mother's love: This pygmy hippopotamus mother and child showed their affections for one another in their enclosure at a zoo in Japan

It seems unlikely that this hippo would win any kind of award for the world's cutest animal.

But this mother didn't seem to care as she snuggled up to her newborn child who has become a star attraction in Japan.

The pygmy hippopotamus was born a month ago on June 24 at the Ueno Zoo in Tokyo and is one of only a handful around the world.

Bath time: With what looks like a smile on his face, the young pygmy hippo has a wash in a small pool

When the cuddle with Mum was the done the pygmy hippo decided it was bath time. He hopped into a small pool in his enclosure for a quick wash.

After a good clean he returned to his, nuzzling his own nose against her hind leg as she walked in front of him.

Hippos have become so rare that they are often referred to as 'living fossils'.

Protector: The mother keeps the baby pygmy out of harms away below her chin

They are normally found in western Africa and weigh in at between 160 and 270kg.

When this baby becomes an adult it is likely to be around 6ft long..

This compares with a normal hippo who can weigh up to five tons and grow to more than five metres in length.

Watch out! The hippo nudges his nose on one of his mother's rear legs

The pygmy's diet consists of a variety of ferns and broad-leaved plants, as well as grasses and fruits found in dense rain forests.

The animals are endangered because of the destruction of their habitat and due to poaching for their teeth, which contain ivory.

The baby's home at the Ueno Zoo in central Tokyo is the oldest zoo in Japan and has been established since the 1880s.

It zoo is now home to more than 2,600 animals from 464 different species, with many coming from abroad, including the first giant pandas during 1972.

It also has a legacy of breeding baby hippos - with others being born in 2001.

source: dailymail


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