June 7, 2023

NEW Pygmy Hippopotamus Arrives at Zoo

Hip, hip, hooray! A new pygmy hippopotamus has arrived at the Pittsburgh Zoo & Aquarium.


Hadari, a one-year-old male hippo, arrived at the Zoo on May 23 from Alabama’s Montgomery Zoo and is getting to know his new home in the Jungle Odyssey area. According to Kelsey Forbes, Curator of Mammals, “Hadari is trying out everything, every which way. He is super rambunctious, loves exploring, and is a confident hippo.”

Hadari loves interacting with keepers and visitors alike, and his favorite foods include green beans, cooked carrots, and oranges. He is in the process of growing his tusks, so visitors will be able to monitor the progress of their development.

There are only two species of Hippopotamus: the pygmy hippopotamus and its much larger relative, the common (or Nile) hippopotamus. Pygmy hippos are found in West Africa and are considered more endangered than that of their colossal counterparts. They typically live between 30-50 years, and less than 3,000 are estimated to be left in the wild. The animals are primarily at risk due to forest and swamp habitat loss.

Hadari was born in Montgomery, Alabama on February 3, 2022 as part of the Association of Zoos and Aquariums’ (AZA) Species Survival Plan (SSP). Through SSPs, multiple zoos, certified facilities, and wildlife organizations around the world work together to ensure the genetic diversity and safety of threatened animals like pygmy hippos. Since 1919, only 41 percent of pygmy hippos born in zoos have been male.

Young Hadari is an exciting arrival during a big year of new additions at the Zoo, including two Western lowland gorillas and two Amur leopards. Animal fans can keep an eye on Zoo social media pages @pghzoo for news and additional announcements and continue to support a future for wildlife at pittsburghzoo.org/donations.