Toronto Zoo's latest addition, Penelope, the baby pygmy hippopotamus. (Toronto Zoo/Twittter)

Toronto Zoo’s baby hippo named Penelope

The Toronto Zoo is a renewed destination even as the temperatures drop and snow is on the way. People want to get a look at the latest addition.

This is Penelope, the baby pygmy hippopotamus who was born at the zoo on August 10, 2018,

“She is strong, confident and a little cheeky which, in my opinion, makes her even cuter”

Now she is just over 20 kg, although she’ll likely get a lot bigger. Her mother, Kindia, a 12-year-old pygmy hippo, weighs about 250 kg.

Penelope will be out in public from 9:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. daily.

The name “Penelope” was chosen after 10,000 members of the public cast their votes. It won over the other options: Alika, Zola and Zawadi

Hollie Ross is the wildlife care supervisor at the zoo’s African Rainforest Pavilion.

In an emailed statement to CBC News she shared their joy and enthusiasm.

“head over heels in love”

“Penelope might be the cutest baby I have ever had the pleasure of working with,”  she wrote.

And she said zookeepers and staff are “head over heels in love” with the little hippo.

“She is strong, confident and a little cheeky which, in my opinion, makes her even cuter.”

Before receiving an official name, zookeepers were just calling the hippo, “baby,” said a spokesperson.

The pygmy hippopotamus is listed as endangered by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List of Threatened Species.

Over the past century, the pygmy hippo’s habitat has been dramatically reduced due to logging, farming, and human settlement, according to the zoo.

Penelope’s birth was important for pygmy hippopotamus conservation efforts, the zoo said, as there are only 2,000 to 3,000 pygmy hippos left in the wild in West Africa.

(With files from CBC and the Toronto Zoo)

Categories: Arts & Entertainment, Environment & Animal Life, International, Society

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