Little Monifa was born on October 15 and is the first pygmy hippo calf born at Taronga for 23 years. Weighing in at just 3.8 kg at birth, Monifa is growing every day and now tips the scales at 6.7 kg.
The plucky youngster almost didn't make it into the world after her mum Petre, a first-time mother, experienced complications during the breach birth (she was born backwards). She is now being hand-raised by dedicated keepers Renae Zammit and Tracey Roberts. The two have literally moved into the zoo to care for Monifa and are doing 24-hour alternate shifts to feed and bath the youngster. ``Although it is a massive undertaking, it’s definitely a labor of love,’’ Ms Zammit said. ``She is quite an unusual looking baby, she almost doesn't look quite real but after months of planning for this birth, it was love at first sight. ``The infant is such an inquisitive little thing and loves bath time. She even turns somersaults in the warm water.’’ Ms Zammit said pygmy hippos were extremely endangered and there were only about 3000 in the world.
Monifa is now Taronga’s fourth pygmy hippo and is currently having six meals a day.