If you loved the game Hungry Hungry Hippos as a child, then youll love our feature animal for this Wildlife Wednesday. Take a few minutes to learn about the pygmy hippopotamus.
Pygmy hippopotamuses, with their tiny ears, round noses, and round bodies, are no exception to the “smaller is (almost) always cuter” rule—so let’s take a moment to learn about them on this Wildlife Wednesday.
Pygmy hippos most often make their homes in the West African country of Liberia, but can also be found along streams and other waterways in neighbouring countries Guinea, the Ivory Coast, and Sierra Leone.
Why are they threatened?
The future of these tiny hippos is a bit murky, since they face a wide number of threats. One major concern is the dramatic changes that have occurred in their home range—much of which has happened in the past year.
Logging and deforestation for agricultural use has caused the animals to retreat into increasingly fragmented areas, and gold mining operations disturb their range in the Ivory Coast. They’re also often hunted for bushmeat.
Unfortunately, while they’re protected by law in many countries, civil unrest and lack of funding for protection and conservation practices mean that these illegal activities often go on without repercussion.