TAMPA, Fla. - Lowry Park Zoo got an early Christmas delivery.
A rare baby pygmy hippo was born on December first at about nine pounds, and at just a few days old, it ventured out into its habitat for the first time on Tuesday.
This is the fourth baby hippo for mom, Zsa Zsa, and the fourth pygmy hippo birth at the zoo.
There are only about 3,000 pygmy hippos left in the wild, so the zoo is working with other zoos nationwide to help preserve the species as part of the Species Survival Program. There are only about 32 pygmy hippos in the program altogether.
The baby explored its habitat for the first time, still with wobbly little legs, and even went for its first swim. "They're born to swim," said Chris Massaro, curator at Tampa's Lowry Park Zoo.
Zsa Zsa stayed close to the baby in the water, even lifting its head up out of the water. Eventually the pair will even nurse under water, Massaro said.
Zoo officials don't know whether the hippo is a boy or a girl, yet, but the zoo plans to have a big gender reveal sometime soon.