Zookeepers devastated by ‘heartbreaking’ and ‘sudden’ death of endangered calf

An adorable pygmy hippopotamus calf died at Sydney Taronga Zoo after just one month in the world.

The zoo announced the death Wednesday night and said the calf – whose name, Amara, was to be revealed soon – died suddenly Friday afternoon.

“The ‘little watermelon on its legs’, as she was affectionately known, was born in late November and captured the hearts of both guests and users in a relatively short time,” the zoo said on social media.

Went and swam
Taronga Zoo’s new pygmy hippopotamus calf made its debut on December 9th. (Taronga Zoo)

“She was found out reacting on Christmas Eve afternoon and was sadly confirmed departed at death.

“Preliminary results from Taronga’s veterinary team indicate a potential problem with her heart.”

Veterinarians are still examining and keeping a close eye on the calf’s parents, Kambri and Fergus.

Zookeepers had come up with three names for the public to choose from: Amara, which means “full of beauty and grace” and is of West African origin; Sierra, after the country of Sierra Leone; and Sapo, after Sapo National Park located in Sinoe County, Liberia. (Taronga Zoo)

The zoo said there were “no signs of trauma or mishaps.”

“She was a much-loved member of the Taronga family, and her passing is understandably heartbreaking for all those who knew and cared for her,” it read.

Pygmy Hippopotamus, Cambris second, had made her public debut just 20 days ago when she looked tiny while splashing around in the water with her mother.

“Our mother and calf duo are doing really, really well,” said Taronga Zoo senior ungulate keeper Renae Moss at the time.

“Kambri is an excellent mother. She is extremely motherly and very protective, and our calf becomes more confident every day, becomes more energetic every day.

Baby animals first Christmas

Baby animals celebrate their first Christmas ever

“In the beginning, she slept most of the day – slept and ate like any newborn baby, but now she’s exploring her surroundings, and today she looks really good at her exhibit.”

Ms Moss said there were fewer than 3,000 pygmy hippos left in the wild, making births at the zoo “extremely valuable”.

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