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Rare pygmy hippo born in Czech zoo makes first appearance

Mikolas, a newborn pygmy hippopotamus calf walks at its enclosure at the safari park in Dvur Kralove, Czech Republic, Monday, Jan. 15, 2024.   -  
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Petr David Josek/Copyright 2024 The AP. All rights reserved

Czech Republic

A zoo in the Czech Republic has welcomed the birth of a male pygmy hippopotamus - a rare and valuable addition to conservation efforts for the endangered species.

The hippo was named Mikolas and has joined two female and one male pygmy hippo in the Dvur Kralove zoo located 120 kilometers (75 miles) east of Prague, according to Helena Hubackova, a spokeswoman for the park.

Pygmy hippos are native to swamps and rain forests in western Africa, and it’s estimated that only about 2,500 still live in the wild.

Breeding them in captivity has been complicated, particularly due to a lack of males. Only a dozen pygmy hippos were born in zoos globally last year.

Weighing up to 275 kilograms (600 pounds), the pygmy hippos are solitary and considered less dangerous than common hippos, although they can get wild at times. A zookeeper in Dvur Kralove was seriously injured by one in 2012.

Video shot for AP by Jan Gebert and produced by Karel Janicek and Petr Josek.

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