TikTok starlet looking for a name

Big name search for little mini-hippo at Zoo Berlin

    Her latest video is breaking new records every day: the first bath of the little pygmy hippo from Zoo Berlin has now reached 6.7 million views on TikTok. "The little one sleeps a lot, drinks about four times a day and is weighed and bathed daily by the zookeepers," says zoologist Dr Florian Sicks, describing a typical day for the little hippo. "Thanks to the nutritious milk, the little pygmy hippo gains around 200 - 300 grams of weight every day. Today she has already weighed 10kg. So you can literally watch her grow." Pygmy hippos are suckled for about six months. At the age of two to four months, the young begin to eat solid food. Little pygmy hippos not follow their mother, but lie safe in a hiding place where they are protected from predators and are sought out by their mother to suckle. Her favourite place to hide at the moment is in a pile of hay.

    Having developed magnificently since her birth on 3 June, more and more questions about the little pygmy hippo's name are now trickling into the zoo's inboxes. To give all hippo fans the chance to contribute their suggestions, there will be an opportunity to submit name suggestions for the little pygmy hippo in the comment column on the zoo's social media channels Facebook, Instagram and TikTok until 5 July. Suggestions can also be submitted via info@zoo-berlin.de. "It's an open secret that I particularly like short, concise names with a Berlin connection. When the animals born here leave us at some point to help preserve their species elsewhere, they always carry a little piece of Berlin with them," reveals Zoo and Tierpark Director Dr Andreas Knieriem, adding: "We are delighted that the young animal is developing so well. There are only fewer than 2,500 adult pygmy hippos left in their natural habitat - and the trend is decreasing. So every offspring is a small gift."

    The young animal and its mother spend the first few weeks in the rear area of the hippo house and are not visible to zoo guests. Hopefully by the end of July, the mini-hippo will be able to follow its hippo mum Debbie to the outdoor enclosure and will finally be seen by zoo guests.

    Zoo Berlin achieved the first European breeding of this highly endangered species back in 1921. Dwarf hippo mum Debbie has already successfully reared young herself in 2004, 2007 and 2008. Dwarf hippo father Tobi is not involved in rearing the young. Pygmy hippos are shy loners and have fixed territories. According to the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), there are only fewer than 2,500 adult pygmy hippos left in their natural habitat in West Africa - and the number is falling. In the Ivory Coast, Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone, the shy forest and swamp dwellers still exist. In Nigeria, they are already extinct. Their greatest threat is man - he is responsible for the loss of their habitat through the clearing of forests for mining and agricultural use.

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