PRAGUE (AP) — A rare male pygmy hippopotamus born in a Czech zoo debuted his first photoshoot on Monday to the delight of spectators. He is considered a valuable addition to the conservation efforts of the endangered species.
Born in December, the hippo was named Mikolas and has joined two female and one male pygmy hippos in the Dvur Kralove Zoo located 120 kilometers (about 75 miles) east of Prague, said Helena Hubackova, a spokeswoman for the park.
Mikolas could be seen exploring his indoor enclosure with his mom Malaya closely watching over.
Pygmy hippos are native to swamps and rainforests in western Africa. It’s estimated only about 2,500 still live in the wild.
Their breeding in captivity has been complicated, particularly due to a lack of males. Only a dozen pygmy hippos were born in zoos globally last year, and not all survived.
Weighing up to 275 kilograms (nearly 600 pounds), the pygmy hippos are solitary and considered less dangerous than common hippos. But they can get wild at times. A zookeeper in Dvur Kralove was seriously injured by one in 2012 and had to be treated at an intensive care unit.
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