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Pygmy Hippo history Austral(asian) region

Discussion in 'Australia' started by Kifaru Bwana, 14 Apr 2017.

  1. Kifaru Bwana

    Kifaru Bwana Well-Known Member

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    We had a great deal of discourse here recently on pygmy hippos in Australia under the Taronga Zoo News 2017 thread following the birth of female Monifa to Kambiri.

    I hope you all do not mind me copying in Zoofan15's overview of the current Australian population:
    QUOTE:
    "The region is now home to the following hippos:
    Felix (M) born 17 November 2006 (Frank x Fluffy) MELBOURNE ZOO
    Fergus (M) born 6 August 2009 (Frank x Fluffy) TARONGA ZOO
    Kambiri (F) born 26 June 2010 (Timmy x Petre) TARONGA ZOO
    Obi (M) born 25 May 2015 (Felix x Petre) ADELAIDE ZOO
    Unnamed (F) born 21 February 2017 (Fergus x Kambiri) TARONGA ZOO"
    UNQUOTE

    BTW: the unnamed calf has been named Monifa meaning "I am lucky" in one of Nigeria's main languages. See link: Pygmy Hippo Baby
     
  2. Kifaru Bwana

    Kifaru Bwana Well-Known Member

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    On a further note, I would like to update you on an export not too long ago from the ZAA region to Indonesia. Taman Safari II in Pasaruan holds a breeding pair, of which one breeder, their female Fluffy, is actually an ex-Australian.

    This female Fluffy bred with a local male at the Taman Safari Pasaruan park and together they produced a female calf - Valen / Valentine - on February 19, 2014.
    Link:

    The local male is probably a Surabaya Zoo born male named Marcel (born 2003) and held at TS II since 2006.

    It seems though that there have been more than one animal named Fluffy in the ZAA region. The male of the old breeding pair at Melbourne and a female born late 2006 at the Cairns Wildlife Safari Reserve to mother Franky (See the link: http://www.dailytelegraph.com.au/ne...y/news-story/390128cfeaa6ce8289670f6e5138ebe8).

    Perhaps you lads and lasses care to add on?!
     
    Last edited: 14 Apr 2017
  3. Zorro

    Zorro Well-Known Member

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    Its a real shame that both the River Hippos and Pygmys were not kept in Australia and used in a breeding program. The Hippos numbers have been in decline for some time and are quite inbred it was rather short sighted for our major zoos not to have stepped in when they became for sale, The only saving grace was one female River Hippo being obtained by Seaworld which was tranfered to TWPZ at Dubbo which has since bred one calf. It could be some time (years) before a IRA is done to allow imports again which by that time there could be very few if any left in the country that are able to breed due to age.
     
  4. Riley

    Riley Well-Known Member

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    Monifa is actually the original name given to Kambiri when she was younger. This article is from 2008.
     
  5. Hix

    Hix Wildlife Enthusiast and Lover of Islands Premium Member

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    That's not correct. Kambiri and Monifa are sisters, Kambira being born a couple of years later in 2010.

    Taronga Visitors May Glimpse Pygmy Hippo Calf

    :p

    Hix
     
    Kifaru Bwana likes this.
  6. Kifaru Bwana

    Kifaru Bwana Well-Known Member

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    @Hix, thanks for correcting us!

    What happened to Monifa then? An export or did she pass away?
     
  7. Kifaru Bwana

    Kifaru Bwana Well-Known Member

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    Checked over Monifa, She was born in 2008 at Taronga and sent to Melbourne Zoo in July 2009. It appears alas she died there a year later …!
     
  8. Hix

    Hix Wildlife Enthusiast and Lover of Islands Premium Member

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    Yes, I remember hearing she died, and was very disappointed. I saw her when she was a few days old and was being hand-reared. Very cute.

    :(

    Hix
     
  9. Zoofan15

    Zoofan15 Well-Known Member

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    Petre (1984) had three calves while at Taronga Zoo:

    Monifa (F)

    Born at Taronga Zoo 15 October 2008
    Sent to Melbourne Zoo 30 July 2009
    Died at Melbourne Zo 9 November 2010

    Unnamed (M)
    Born at Taronga Zoo 23 August 2009
    Died at Taronga Zoo 28 August 2009

    Kambiri (F)
    Born at Taronga Zoo 26 June 2010

    Monifa died due to a case of acute haemolytic crisis (rapid and extensive destruction of red blood cells).
     
    Last edited: 18 Apr 2017
  10. Kifaru Bwana

    Kifaru Bwana Well-Known Member

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    I did a bit more research on the Australian founder stock of the pygmy hippos. It so turned out that only 5 individuals ever did contribute to the ARAZPA / ZAA gene pool. All founders originated from captive bred animals from US zoos in the early seventies.

    Of these, 2.1 animals came from one site only, the National Zoo Park in Washington DC. Two additional females from both Baltimore, Maryland and Cleveland, Ohio were imported too. This grand total of 5 individuals are the forebearers of the current living specimens.

    This opens up the possibility that additional animals might be sourced from South East Asia and / or Europe. I assume that S.E. Asia is easier where this relates to import legislative procedures and veterinary protocols.

    Incidentally, a country like Indonesia has a surprisingly high number of captive-bred animals. Even these could qualify as additional founders for the ZAA region.
     
  11. Chlidonias

    Chlidonias Moderator Staff Member

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    I think you may be missing some data. They were being bred in Australia from the 1960s - before any 1970s imports. Also the Honolulu-born male Timmy was imported in 1981, and he is the father of Kambiri who is still at Taronga Zoo.
     
  12. Kifaru Bwana

    Kifaru Bwana Well-Known Member

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    Yes, indeed … Chlidonias, I should have mentioned Honolulu born male Timmy too. That would make 6 founders in all.

    The Washington contribution actually started with a half sibling pair (same sire, different dams) that entered in the late late fifties. Sadly, that first line did have a great number of stillbirths, and calves dying very early post partum. Their first living offspring was only born in 1968, a female named Cleo, who went on to breed twice. Ad finalem: their contribution to the next generations of ARAZPA/ZAA pygmy hippos was rather small.

    Actually, the 4 later imports on the whole did somewhat better. It is all the more deplorable that particularly male Frank (a Washington DC sire x a Cleveland dam) was exported to Indonesia. To complicate matters female Fluffy - the female of this short lived breeding combination - was in all fairness a direct daughter to Frank with the Baltimore female.
     
  13. Zorro

    Zorro Well-Known Member

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    There will not be any more Hippos imported into the region untill a new IRA is put together for them which I believe has not even been started yet. The now closed Pearl coast zoo at broom imported quite a few animals into the country from UK zoos including a few species of antelopes, Zebra also I believe Lions. I cant recall if they also imported any Hippos at the time.
     
  14. kiang

    kiang Well-Known Member

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    This thread may help.
    Pearl Coast Zoo
     
  15. Kifaru Bwana

    Kifaru Bwana Well-Known Member

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    Dear @kiang, I have the details not at hand right now (replying from the office ... oops) to reply in much further detail.

    However, I am quite sure that the Pearl Coast zoo pygmy hippos did not originate from founders from Europe. At the top of my head ... whilst at Pearl Coast / Broome the pygmy hippos bred twice. They were subsequently sent - again off the top of my head - to Mareeba / Cairns WSR. From the latter facility 2 captive-bred males were redistributed to other Australian zoos, whereas the then breeding pair was exported to Indonesia in 2013.
     
  16. Zorro

    Zorro Well-Known Member

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    I believe many of those animals went first to the Tipperary station in the NT before they ended up in Mareeba where one of the Pygmy Hippos escaped living feral for six years which was a real waste to zoos here having this female lost to any breeding program in the country only to end up being shot by a guy out hunting feral pigs!
     
  17. Kifaru Bwana

    Kifaru Bwana Well-Known Member

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    What you believe may not be taken for a fact.

    It is true one pygmy hippo was shot in the outback, an escapee from the captive-breeding program. I am not even sure if it has ever been reported into the studbook.

    I can only answer the latter question when I check up on this later tonight (it is now 12:45 here).
     
  18. Kifaru Bwana

    Kifaru Bwana Well-Known Member

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    Update on Pearl Coast facility: their original breeding pair were Frank (born and bred in Melbourne) and the Baltimore Zoo import Diana. They had 2 calves (the male Kumbe died later on), with one surviving offspring.

    Second: the entire Pearl Coast group was passed on to Tipperary Sanctuary/Mareeba/Cairns. There is a note that 2 pygmies died in 2004 and 2005 (with no clear dates given).

    The disappearing act and shooting of an escaped pygmy hippo happened in November 2009! This was of course long after the demise of the Tipperary Sanctuary. The latter individual is NOT listed in the studbook (as its identity or source has never been clarified properly)!

    Sadly, this only illustrates and - one cannot but take away from the 2009 incident and the inconclusive dates on the 2 individuals listed in the studbook (with no exact dates of demise / passing) that record-keeping was not any of these 3/4 facilities' strong points.
     
    Last edited: 21 Apr 2017
  19. Zorro

    Zorro Well-Known Member

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    I had heard that at least one zoo wanted to go and trap the feral pygmy Hippo but were warned off from doing so by the powers that be!
     
  20. Zoofan15

    Zoofan15 Well-Known Member

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    Kambiri's calf has been named Kamina

    This Mini Is Major!

    Taronga Zoo is celebrating the arrival of an endangered Pygmy Hippo calf, the first born at the Zoo in nearly seven years.

    The female calf named Kamina was born to first-time parents Fergus and Kambiri on 21 February, but made her public debut on 17 March under the watchful eye of her mother and keepers.

    Visitors will catch glimpses of the rare newborn on Taronga’s Rainforest Trail as she starts to explore outdoors and perfect the art of swimming.

    “Pygmy Hippos naturally spend a lot of time in the water, so the calf is already having a great time learning to swim next to mum and even practicing holding her breath underwater,” said Keeper, Renae Moss.

    “We’ve started by filling the pond to about 40 cm deep, but we’ll gradually increase the depth of the water as the little one grows in confidence.”

    Weighing about five kilograms at birth, the calf is growing at a healthy pace and has begun mouthing solid foods: “The calf is absolutely thriving. She’s putting on weight every day and she’s already got little rolls of fat around her neck,” said Renae.

    A vital addition to the region’s insurance population of Pygmy Hippos, the calf is the first born at Taronga since Kambiri in June 2010.

    “Kambiri is proving to be an absolute natural as a mother. She’s very attentive and a great teacher, guiding the calf as she learns to swim and showing her what foods to eat,” said Renae.

    “It’s also important for the calf to learn these natural mothering behaviours, as we hope she’ll grow up to be an excellent mum herself. With as few as 2000-3000 Pygmy Hippos remaining in the wild, every little calf is important.

    Native to the forests and swamps of West Africa, Pygmy Hippos are solitary animals that generally only come together for breeding. Little is known about them in the wild, with the majority of research recorded about the species learned from those cared for in zoos.

    “These elusive animals continue to be threatened by loss of habitat as their forest homes are logged and converted to farmland at an alarming rate. They are also vulnerable to poaching, hunting and civil unrest and their wild populations continue to decline. Protecting their natural habitat is critical in ensuring the survival of wild populations and we can all help Pygmy Hippos by choosing paper and wood products certified by the Forest Stewardship Council” said Renae.