BIOPARC FUENGIROLA is celebrating after the birth of a rare pygmy hippopotamus at the zoo.
The new arrival represents yet another success for the European conservation programme in which the park has participated since its opening in 2001.
Following several weeks of observation, the young female hippo is now allowed outside in its parents’ enclosure, albeit with restricted access to the water until she has improved her swimming technique.
She will now remain with her mother throughout the first year of her life.
Pygmy hippos are 10 times smaller than common hippos, and also differ in their solitary behaviour.
The species has been classified as threatened since 2006, because it now only exists in isolated pockets of Sierra Leone, the Ivory Coast, Liberia and the Gulf of Guinea.
Bioparc Fuengirola is one of only three Spanish zoos that house breeding pairs of pygmy hippos, and also contributes to conserving its natural habitats in a joint project with the Zoological Society of London.