Pygmy Hippo Update – Lisa Rijkers

Hi everyone, my name is Lisa Rijkers, a Master Animal Science student at Wageningen University & Research with a specialisation in Wildlife Ecology & Conservation. I am currently working on my master’s thesis in collaboration with IBREAM! I have gotten the unique opportunity to be involved with IBREAM’s pygmy hippopotamus (Choeropsis liberiensis), or pygmy hippo hereafter, project.

Pygmy hippo pooh – will the smell give us the answers?

The preparation of the field data collection mission started with the purchase of field equipment, the refilling of nitrogen cylinders and the rental of a private vehicle by Herman, who is the coordinator of this unique mission to collect pygmy hippo pooh samples in different regions of Tai Forest National Park. We hope that this will ultimately learn us more about the presence and distribution of male and female pygmy hippopotami throughout Tai Forest.

Expedition in Tai forest to collect pygmy hippo pooh samples for gender analyis by conservation detection dogs: will the smell give us the answers?

The preparation of the field data collection mission started with the purchase of field equipment, the refilling of nitrogen cylinders and the rental of a private vehicle by Herman, who is the coordinator of this unique mission to collect pygmy hippo pooh samples in different regions of Tai Forest National Park. We hope that this will ultimately learn us more about the presence and distribution of male and female pygmy hippopotami throughout Tai Forest.

Detection Dogs Assisting Conservation Management of the Endangered Pygmy Hippo by their Smell

My name is Mariska Snelleman and I am delighted to join the team of IBREAM. I am very excited at the prospect of supporting IBREAM’s pygmy hippo monitoring program with the help of detection dogs. This project is a novel and unique approach in threatened species monitoring where we will use the dogs superior sense of smell to help monitor threatened species and explore alternative methods that will make diverse field monitoring possible.

Meet Estefania, IBREAM’s newest Pygmy Hippo PhD student: Estefania plans to unravel several secrets of the pygmy hippopotamus

Hello readers of the IBREAM website, I like to introduce myself. I am Estefania Erazo-Mera, another fan of Pygmy hippos in the IBREAM family. I have designed my research project from Townsville – Australia at James Cook University, where I am pursuing my PhD. So, you may wonder, why study a species so far from Australia? Well, studying this unique endangered species, that lives  in a very remote and threatened habitat, is not only interesting but also challenging. This is why I decided to embark myself into this adventure; with the assistance of my advisory panel, we have designed a novel project that will provide crucial information for the overall conservation of the pygmy hippopotamus.

Pygmy Hippo Awareness Activities (2018) 

On Tuesday, May 29th, 2018, the 2018 edition of the Hippo day was organized in the village of Ponan, located at 4 km south of Taï. As usually, primary schools were at the heart of the event. Our strategy is that by creating nature awareness in the young generation, in time nature awareness will become one of the cultural elements of the local villages. Our activities focus on the Pygmy Hippo and this creates a positive attitude towards conswerving this endangered species in the rainforest. A total of 10 primary schools participated with more than 300 children. 

Pygmy Hippo PhD 2017 Summary

The pygmy hippopotamus is endangered in the wild and has been exhibited in zoological collections since the early 1900s; however, it remains one of the most little known and poorly understood large mammal species in the world.

Pygmy Hippopotamus Labwork in Florida at SEZARC

Back in April of 2014, I travelled to 12 zoos around the USA to meet their pygmy hippos and initiate sample collection for a year-long hormone study using dung samples. The last year flew by, and April 2015 came a lot faster than expected! Now it was finally time to gather all my samples and start conducting analysis and determine some exciting new information about stress and reproduction in pygmy hippos.

Pygmy Hippo project interview

PhD student Dr Gabriella Flacke was interviewed by Techly Australia to explain her project with the pigmy hippos. Read the article The Aussie vet doing her part for the pygmy hippo by Joe Frost.