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This 3-Week-Old Pygmy Hippo Is The Cutest Thing Imaginable

The little calf has stepped out for the cameras.

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These are pictures of a 3-week-old hippo at Bristol Zoo, born to parents Sirana and Nato.

The calf, which has not been sexed yet, has been wallowing in the heated pool in its enclosure. To help the parents settle into their new role, their baby has been kept away from public view – until now.

"The calf is looking very strong and it certainly feeds well," Lynsey Bugg, Bristol Zoo's assistant curator of mammals, said in a press release. "Like any youngster, it wants to be close to mum at all times and is often seen by her side.

"It spends short periods of time in the water but is not quite as good at swimming as its parents so we often see mum Sirana guiding her little one back into the shallow water. Young hippos tire easily."

"The pygmy hippo is threatened in the wild, where it is thought less than 2,000 of these animals survive," Bugg said.

"In Liberia, destruction of forests surrounding the Sapo National Park by logging companies is damaging one of the few remaining strongholds for the pygmy hippo. Bristol Zoo Gardens is part of an international captive breeding programme for the pygmy hippo."

"Pygmy hippos are, as the name suggests, much smaller than the common hippopotamus," said Bristol Zoo.

"In the wild, females usually breed once every two years," Bristol Zoo said. "A single youngster is born, after a gestation period of about six months. The baby weighs between four and six kilos and is unable to walk very far at first. Its mother conceals it in thick cover, visiting it to feed it. After three months it is able to feed on vegetation."

The Hippo House at Bristol Zoo will be open to guests soon.

Matt Tucker is the UK picture editor for BuzzFeed and is based in London.

Contact Matthew Tucker at matthew.tucker@buzzfeed.com.

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