‘A joyous moment’: Franklin Park Zoo welcomes first pygmy hippo calf

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FRANKLIN, Mass. (WPRI) ─ It’s a boy!

The Franklin Park Zoo family grew by one last Monday when a pygmy hippopotamus gave birth to a 13-pound calf.

The calf is the first pygmy hippo to be born at the Zoo. The Zoo said the mother, a pygmy hippopotamus named Cleopatra, had given birth to stillborn calves in 2018 and 2019 “due to prolonged labor.”

The Zoo’s veterinary team decided this time to induce Cleo so they could assist with the birth.

Dr. Eric Baitchman, the vice president of animal health and conservation for Zoo New England, called the birth of the calf a “joyous moment marking the culmination of years of work, careful planning and dedication.”

“The calf was immediately so bright, strong and aware, and was holding his head up right away,” Baitchman said. “The calf was introduced to Cleo soon after birth and was nursing within a few hours. Each new birth contributes to the continued survival of this endangered species, and we are thrilled by this success.”

The Zoo said Cleo and the calf are bonding “behind the scenes” for now. It’s unclear whether the calf has been named.

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