RICHMOND, Va. — The Metro Richmond Zoo wanted a hippopotamus for Christmas -- and they actually got one!
Pygmy hippos Iris and Corwin gave birth to a precious female calf on Dec. 6.
The zoo shared the joyous news on Dec. 23, saying the baby isn't just adorable; she's also ecologically important.
There are fewer than 2,500 pygmy hippos left in the wild, they said, which makes every new member of the endangered species a reason to celebrate.
The unnamed bundle of joy is actually the second pygmy hippo to be born at the Metro Richmond Zoo.
She was 16 pounds three days after she was born and within a week, had grown to 24 pounds. Adult pygmy hippos are smaller than the common hippos, but are still huge creatures that can weigh up to 600 pounds.
So far, mom and baby are doing well.
"Iris is an experienced mother and very caring of her baby," zookeepers wrote. "Iris and her baby currently reside in a super cozy, hay-bedded enclosure that is off exhibit. This gives privacy to mom and baby while they bond. Soon, they will be moved into the indoor pool area that is visible to guests so the baby can start swimming."
The Metro Richmond Zoo is the only place in Virginia where people can see a pygmy hippo.