In Toronto, it is fortunate that the Toronto Zoo has Kindia the 14-year-old endangered Pygmy Hippo, and her baby Penelope, currently on show. Their visiting hours are 9:30 am to 3:00 pm daily at the African Rainforest Pavillion.
Pygmy Hippos, found mostly in Liberia, Africa are thought to number only 3,000 at most. Others live in Sierra Leone, Guinea and the Ivory Coast. Although common Hippos are large and rather ferocious, Pygmy Hippos are only ¼ of their size (70 to 80 cm), and are solitary, gentle and shy.
Hippos spend about 16 hours a day resting, or moving around, in rivers and lakes to keep cool. They do not swim or float, they propel themselves through the water with their short legs. Hippos are covered by a thick oily secretion that keeps them safe from the sun. It is red like blood, but it is not blood. It is also thought to be able to help any wound heal faster. Hippos are more likely to feed when they are active at night. They eat leaves, roots, grasses and fallen fruits.
Common Hippos are in decline, as their numbers are expected to be reduced by up to 30 percent in the next 30 years. Pygmy Hippos, though, are highly endangered, due to logging and hunting by man.