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Page last updated at 11:21 GMT, Tuesday, 22 December 2009
New baby animals bring joy to zoo
Zamba the baby hippo
After a 16 month pregnancy for her mum, Zamba was born in October

Keepers at Colchester Zoo are celebrating following a bumper number of youngsters born this year.

The latest addition is a pygmy hippo, born on the morning of Friday, 27 November, a first for the zoo.

The new arrival is part of the European Endangered Species breeding programme, which the zoo is actively involved in.

There have been nearly 100 births at the zoo this year from red river hogs to meerkats, a giant anteater to a mandrill monkey.

Anthony Tropeano, from the zoo, said: "In terms of numbers of births it has probably been one of the best years we've ever had.

"We've also had two very important births for us, because they are first time ones."

Zamba, a baby white rhino, was born at the beginning of October.

"He's now coming up to three months old and is now like a wind-up tonker toy and is absolutely the most adorable and character-filled little thing you've ever come across," said Anthony.

Pygmy hippo
The first pygmy hippo to be born at Colchester Zoo

The second important birth was the pygmy hippo, who weighed 4kg when it was born.

"It looks like a miniaturized adult. When it was born it was a little bit smaller than a Labrador puppy. It's incredible," he added.

The zoo has over 260 species of animals and over 545 sub-species; many of these are classified as endangered or vulnerable species.

The keepers are looking forward to next Easter, when the pitter-patter of baby elephant feet will be heard, when ex-circus elephant, Opal, gives birth following a 22-month pregnancy.

In pictures: Colchester Zoo babies
17 Dec 09 |  Nature & Outdoors
White rhino calf is born at zoo
16 Oct 09 |  Essex
Ex-circus elephant pregnancy joy
28 Jan 09 |  Essex



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