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Your morning adorable: Baby pygmy hippopotamus is born in Polish zoo

September 8, 2010 | 11:56 am

Pygmy Hippo

It's not often we have the opportunity to use the words "adorable" and "hippopotamus" in the same headline. In fact, we're almost positive we've never had that distinct pleasure before.

But here we are, faced with alarming evidence that baby pygmy hippos -- right down to their 16 pudgy toes -- are pretty darn cute.

This guy was born at Poland's Wroclaw Zoo last week, and his birth is big news for tiny hippos worldwide. There are thought to be fewer than 3,000 of his species remaining in the wild.

Only about a third of the pygmy hippos in European zoos are male, so this fellow's birth is being met with great excitement among zoos that participate in conservation breeding programs.

Pygmy hippos, like their larger and more well-known Nile hippo cousins, are native to parts of Africa, although pygmy hippos occupy a much smaller territory than Nile hippos do. Pygmy hippos' wild range includes parts of Liberia, Sierra Leone, Guinea and the Ivory Coast.

Fun fact about the species: In the days before politicians were forbidden to accept extravagant gifts like, say, giant wild animals, tire magnate Harvey Firestone sent a pygmy hippo to President Coolidge as a present. The hippo, known as Billy, is an ancestor to many of the pygmy hippos living in U.S. zoos today.

The Wroclaw Zoo's baby doesn't have a name yet, but zoo staff have announced that they'll hold a contest to allow the public to submit suggestions. See more photos of him after the jump!

Pygmy Hippo

Pygmy Hippo

RELATED ENDANGERED SPECIES BIRTHS:
Your morning adorable: Critically endangered Sumatran orangutan born in Israeli zoo
Giant panda cub is born at Vienna zoo

-- Lindsay Barnett

Photos: Adam Hawalej / European Pressphoto Agency

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