Akobi, the first pygmy hippo successfully born at the San Diego Zoo in more than three decades, made his public debut this week, two months after his birth.
His name is Yoruba for "firstborn," a fitting name as he is his mother Mabel's first calf. Pygmy hippos live in the forests of West Africa, and there are fewer than 3,000 left in the wild. That's why Akobi's caretaker, Leanne Klinski, is so thrilled by his birth. "The fact that we got to this day is a huge, huge, huge thing and we're really excited," she told the San Diego Union-Tribune.
Breeding pygmy hippos isn't easy, and they are keeping a close eye on Akobi to make sure he is healthy. So far, everything looks great — Akobi, who weighs 40 pounds, is eating regularly and Mabel's "motherly instincts have been right spot on," Klinski said. Akobi is about to get some new neighbors as well, with the zoo likely soon introducing to his enclosure monkeys that are native to West Africa. "It's going to be a lot of fun when we finally add those extra layers," Klinski said. Catherine Garcia