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Zoo’s pygmy hippo calf dies

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Credit: San Diego Zoo

SAN DIEGO — A pygmy hippopotamus born at the San Diego Zoo earlier this month has died, zoo officials announced Friday.

The calf was born to mother Francesca in the wee hours of Nov. 11 and was the first of the species born at the zoo in more than a decade. A couple of days later, the zoo announced the birth and said mother and calf were being monitored.

According to a posting on the zoo’s Facebook page, staff  ”observed the mother caring for her calf, but a veterinary exam indicated that the newborn wasn’t receiving proper nourishment.”

No other details on the death were released, and a call to the zoo was not immediately returned.

Pygmy hippos are an endangered species from the forests of West Africa. There were estimated to be about 2,000 left in the world a decade ago, when the last population survey was done. Since then, political unrest, habitat destruction and wildlife trafficking in their native habitats are likely to have reduced the wild population to critically low numbers.

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