Germans more interested in a baby, pygmy hippo than any politician

Baby pygmy hippo more popular than any German politician in Germany
Baby pygmy hippo more popular than any German politician in Germany. Image: Berlin Zoo.

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The Berlin Zoo’s newborn pygmy hippopotamus has garnered over 8 million views on TikTok and 9 million on Instagram, surpassing any German politician’s reach. This suggests that German citizens show more interest in this adorable baby hippo than in their politicians, which is quite understandable given her immense cuteness.

Dürfen wir vorstellen? Der jüngste Spross in unserer HippoBay! 🦛 Und nein, das ist kein Spüli – bei dem weißen Schaum handelt es sich um ein körpereigenes Sekret, das die Haut der Zwergflusspferde schützt. #hippo #babyanimal #babyhippo #bathing #flussi #animalsoftiktok #happyhippo

♬ Originalton – Zoo und Tierpark Berlin – Zoo und Tierpark Berlin

Currently unnamed, the zoo’s call for name suggestions online has resulted in a flood of over 10,000 ideas from places as distant as Mexico and Australia.

The elusive and highly territorial pygmy hippo faces severe endangerment in the wild, with less than 2,500 believed to remain in Guinea, Liberia, Sierra Leone, and the Ivory Coast, and is already extinct in Nigeria.

Nonetheless, Berlin Zoo has successfully bred the species for over a century. A month ago, Debbie, the only female, birthed twins, but tragically, one passed away soon after—a rare occurrence.

The surviving twin, affectionately dubbed “little bacon rind,” weighed 3.6 kg at birth, about the size of a loaf of bread, and is gaining up to 300 g daily, expected to reach around 200 kg as an adult.

“Today she already weighs 10 kg, so you can literally watch her grow,” says a curator at the zoo.

Pygmy hippos are so reclusive that the young often hide from their mothers and must be found for feeding. Tobi, the father, typically shows little interest in his offspring, as is characteristic of the species, and is kept apart from his young.

The baby’s daily bathing routine, involving a sprinkle of water in a plastic tray, has captured significant social media interest (see video for a cleaning routine). On Friday, the zoo invited internet users to name the hippo, aiming to leverage the videos’ popularity to increase awareness of the endangered species.

The zoo’s director stated, “If the animals born here ever leave us to contribute to the preservation of the species somewhere else they will always carry a little piece of their Berlin homeland with them.”

Suggestions for a name include: Lottie, Brandy, Curry (from currywurst, the popular Berlin street snack).

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Post Category: Hippos