Meet Sapo the Baby Pygmy Hippo
Sapo! Sapo, the 3-month old baby pygmy hippo at the ZSL Whipsnade Zoo in England, recently made his public debut and took his first swim. Sapo and his mother Flora are part of the European Endangered Species Program to maintain populations and assure survival at zoos. Fortunately, pygmy hippos breed well in captivity. Sapo is a Pygmy Hippopotamus (Choeropsis liberiensis) and is listed by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List as Endangered. Sapo inspires hope and will act as an ambassador for endangered species worldwide.
Pygmy Hippopotamus There are an estimated 3,000 pygmy hippos remaining. The species is native to West Africa (Sierra Leone, Guinea, Côte d’Ivoire, and Liberia). Both habitat destruction and hunting have reduced the population to endangered levels. Habitat fragmentation has isolated the mammals into remnant populations, some of which are very small. The species is a rare, nocturnal forest animal. While smaller than the well-known larger hippopotamus in Sub-Saharan Africa, they are a large mammal reaching 32 inches at the shoulder, 70 inches in length, and weighing 600 pounds. They live 30 to 55 years in captivity. By comparison, the larger Hippopotamus amphibius is second only to elephants in weight of land mammals (up to 9,500 pounds), 5 feet tall at the shoulder, and 17 feet long.
Meet Sapo, the Baby Pygmy Hippo June 8 – Tiny baby pygmy hippo makes a big splash as he takes his first dip at an English zoo, inspiring hope for the endangered species. Elly Park reports.
European Endangered Species Program
“It does not matter
In which lake you discover a spill of pollution,
In the forest of which country a fire breaks out,
Or on which continent a hurricane originates:
You are guardian of the entired earth”