Photo courtesy Tampa's Lowry Park Zoo
Tampa, Florida -- A rare pygmy hippopotamus was born Thursday at Tampa's Lowry Park Zoo. It is the second to be born at the zoo, with the first being in 2008.
The World Conservation Union estimates that there are fewer than 3,000 pygmy hippos remaining in the wild.
Lowry Park Zoo says pygmy hippos are much smaller than Nile hippos, with adults averaging 350-550 pounds and standing only about three feet tall at the shoulder and four to six feet in length. The skin is smooth and hairless, and black to purple in color. The animal is known to by a shy, solitary species, and is primarily nocturnal.
The newborn hippo, a female, has yet to be named. On Tuesday, the zoo will launch an online naming contest.
The Zoo's animal care team has selected several African names starting with the letter Z in honor of mother hippo "Zsa Zsa." The name that receives the highest number of votes through Monday, December 3, will be declared the winner:
- Zawadi -- "gift"
- Zola -- "to love"
- Zuri -- "beautiful"
Of all the entries for the winning name, TWO voters will be selected at random to win a family 4-pack of Zoo tickets, in honor of this second calf born at the Zoo.
You can vote by visiting the zoo's Wild Wonderland website.