Nameless no more! Toronto Zoo's baby hippo dubbed Penelope
Public voted on name for endangered pygmy hippopotamus calf
She's adorable, endangered and finally has a name: Penelope.
The Toronto Zoo revealed the name of their baby pygmy hippopotamus Thursday, as decided by a public vote.
Penelope won out over the other ballot options: Alika, Zola and Zawadi.
Zookeepers selected the original list of name options, a spokesperson said, and more than 10,000 votes were cast for the winner.
Penelope was born on August 10 and is now just over 20 kg — although she'll likely get a lot bigger. Her mother, Kindia, is a 12-year-old pygmy hippo weighing about 250 kg.
"Penelope might be the cutest baby I have ever had the pleasure of working with," Hollie Ross, wildlife care supervisor at the zoo's African Rainforest Pavilion, wrote in an emailed statement.
She said zookeepers and staff are "head over heels in love" with the little hippo.
"She is strong, confident and a little cheeky which, in my opinion, makes her even cuter."
Before receiving an official name, zookeepers were just calling the hippo, "baby," said a spokesperson.
Did you know hippos don’t technically swim? They propel themselves underwater using their legs to propel themselves forward. Their high body fat also assists with their buoyancy. Our baby pygmy calf is quite the avid “propellor” & loves the water! <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/BabyPygmyDiaries?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#BabyPygmyDiaries</a> <a href="https://t.co/2mTQ9UGKHp">pic.twitter.com/2mTQ9UGKHp</a>—@TheTorontoZoo
Penelope will be on exhibit daily from 9:30 a.m. to 3 p.m.
Her birth was important for pygmy hippopotamus conservation efforts, the zoo said, as there are only 2,000 to 3,000 pygmy hippos left in the wild in West Africa.
Over the past century, the zoo said, the pygmy hippo's habitat has been dramatically reduced due to logging, farming, and human settlement.
The pygmy hippopotamus is currently listed as endangered by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List of Threatened Species.
Watch as our baby pygmy calf plays with mom Kindia in their pool! She is mouthing mom to play but also “act tough”. Keepers say at times she can be very sassy 😉<br><br>If you haven’t already, help us name her here: <a href="https://t.co/euMxRqmYrr">https://t.co/euMxRqmYrr</a> <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/BabyPygmyDiaries?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#BabyPygmyDiaries</a> <a href="https://t.co/ltaAkBjUpq">pic.twitter.com/ltaAkBjUpq</a>—@TheTorontoZoo