Ellen the pygmy hippo is celebrating Mother’s Day this year with a brand new arrival.
Baby Eve was the last birth of 2011 for Edinburgh Zoo, with Ellen giving birth right on New Year’s Eve.
Just this week little Eve has started venturing into her outdoor enclosure from the cosy pygmy hippo house, under the protective gaze of her mummy.
An excellent mum, Ellen gave birth to her first calf, another girl called Leishan, in 2009.
Very strong swimmers, pygmy hippos are native to West Africa, and can often be spotted paddling around and making a splash in their enclosure at Edinburgh Zoo. Perfectly adapted to this love of the water, they have muscular valves that close their ears and nostrils when submerged.
Donald Gow, senior primate and hoofstock keeper at Edinburgh Zoo, said: “Pygmy hippos are endangered in the wild and numbers are declining, so it’s fantastic that Edinburgh Zoo has such a natural mum like Ellen. She’s got great maternal instincts.
“Baby Eve is Ellen’s second calf, and both mum and baby seem to have a really strong bond. Eve is a little shy and tends to stick close to mum. This week we’ve started to see Eve follow her mum into their outdoor enclosure and she’s growing in confidence every day. With a little help from her mum, Eve even tackled swimming just a few days after she was born. Surprisingly, given their love of water, pygmy hippos have to be taught how to swim.”