Meet Hardari, the adorable baby pygmy hippo making his debut at Montgomery Zoo (PHOTO)

Montgomery Zoo
Newborn pygmy hippo. (Montgomery Zoo)

Last month on February 3rd, Asali, a female pygmy hippopotamus at the Montgomery Zoo, gave birth to her second calf (father Nile’s fourth offspring)—a very energetic and spunky 12 pound male baby hippo named Hardari. He’s been gaining about a pound a day!

After nearly two months, Hardari is finally making his public debut on Thursday, March 24th, beginning at 10:00AM at the Zoo’s South American realm, near Monkey Island.

Only 2000-3000 Left In Their Native Habitat

According to the Zoo, the birth of this male calf is significantly important due to pygmy hippos being classified as an endangered species by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN). 

This is the fifth successful pygmy hippo birth at the Montgomery Zoo since 2016. Males of this species are very important as they are more rare than females.

It has been estimated that there are only around 2,000-3,000 pygmy hippos left in their native habitat, with numbers declining, as their habitat is destroyed. 

Fortunately, pygmy hippos breed well in zoos, however, more protection is needed so that pygmy hippos will not vanish from their native habitats. 

Fun Facts about the Pygmy Hippo

Montgomery Zoo
Harder and his mother Asali. (Montgomery Zoo)

Here are some details about the species from the Montgomery Zoo:

“The pygmy hippopotamus is a large mammal native to the forests and swamps of western Africa. A cousin of the much larger common hippopotamus, the pygmy hippo is semi-aquatic and relies on proximity to water to maintain moisturized skin and a cool body temperature. Reclusive and nocturnal, it is a difficult animal to study in the wild.”

  • Pygmy hippos grow to approximately half the height and one quarter of the weight of their larger cousins
  • Full grown, the pygmy hippo typically reaches 30-32 inches in height, 59-70 inches in length, and 400-600lbs in weight.
  • It is estimated that pygmy hippos can grow to ten times their birth weight by the age of five months.

Don’t Miss Zoo Weekend

Hardari’s big debut comes just in time for Zoo Weekend, the organization’s biggest fundraiser of the year.

If you are interested in dropping by to see the entire family, here are the hours of operation and ticket prices:

  • Daily operating hours: 9am – 5pm, with last admission (entry) at 4pm. 
  • Daily admission: Adults $18, Children (3-12 years) $14, Toddlers (2 years and under) FREE, and Seniors 65 years old and older $16

If you go see Hardari and the family—say hi!—take a pic and tag us on social media @thebamabuzz!

Pat Byington
Pat Byington
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