Aug 20

Baby Silas is Here, Hip-Hippo Hooray

Our newest pygmy hippo, Silas, was born during the spring and can now be seen in the Lied Jungle, under the watchful eye of his mother Chomel.

“Chomel is a really good mom, she pays pretty close attention to Silas,” says Teresa Shepard, jungle supervisor at Omaha’s Henry Doorly Zoo and Aquarium.

She’s had some experience. This is the third surviving calf born to Chomel and Silas’s dad Scooby. Their oldest, Ralph, is now a proud papa himself at the Miami Zoo, and Mabel, who is four, is at the San Diego Zoo where she will probably be bred soon.

Baby hippos tend to stay with their mothers for about a year, before seeking out their own territories where they can be solitary. Since Silas and Chomel are in human care, they will stay together in the Lied Jungle for the first year, then Silas will go to another zoo where he will be paired off with a Species Survival Plan (SSP)-recommended female to optimize the genetic diversity of the species.

“Pygmy hippos are endangered, with fewer than about 2,000 left in the wild, so each pygmy hippo calf born is incredibly significant to the species,” says Shepard.

Zoo visitors can see Silas in the Lied Jungle daily between 9 a.m. and 3 p.m. Those who wish to support our pygmy hippos can do so by becoming a Zoo Mama or Zoo Daddy.