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Baby Pygmy Hippo Gives Hope For Endangered Population

Chile's Buin Zoo is celebrating the recent birth of a rare pygmy hippopotamus, as part of its breeding program for the endangered species.

The proud zoo's baby girl Bernardina came in at 7.2 kilograms and was born in late 2019.

She marks the fourth birth of a pygmy hippo at this Chile zoo in some eight years.

She's the fourth pygmy hippo born at this Chile zoo in some eight years. Photo: Reuters

"We are facing a species that is extremely decimated in the wild," Buin Zoo Manager, Ignacio Idalsoaga said.

"This speaks of hope for the species. If it weren't for zoos, which are carrying out a worldwide program of care for this species, we think that in 20 years they would no longer be seen in the wild."

Pigmy hippos are the smaller cousins of the hippopotamus. Photo: Reuters

According to zookeepers, Bernardina is in good health and is under the watchful gaze of her mother Coco.

An adult pygmy hippopotamus, smaller cousins of the hippopotamus, typically reaches around 70-80 centimetres tall and weighs around 250 kilograms, about a quarter of the size of a full-sized hippo, the Pygmy Hippo Foundation has said.

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Pygmy hippos are native to West Africa, with most thought to be in Liberia and a smaller number in Sierra Leone, Guinea and the Ivory Coast, according to the Pygmy Hippo Foundation.

There are only around 2,500 Pygmy Hippopotamus left in the world, with a dwindling natural habitat and hunting their greatest threats to survival.