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Khansa, the Singapore Zoo's 46th orangutan baby, clings to its mother Anita during a media tour to showcase newborn animals at the Singapore Zoo January 11, 2018. REUTERS/Edgar Su


SINGAPORE (Reuters) - The Singapore zoo on Thursday introduced to the public 500 newborns it welcomed into the world in 2017, representing 145 species, more than a quarter of which are endangered.

Two-month old Abina, the 24th successful pygmy hippo to be born at the zoo, waddled near the water's edge around her mother's legs, to the delight of visiting schoolchildren.

"The pygmy hippo is one species our zoo has been able to breed consistently well over the years," said Cheng Wen-Haur, deputy chief executive and chief life sciences officer at Wildlife Reserves Singapore.

There are about 2,000 of the animals left in the wild and in zoos, he added.

The park also unveiled two baby electric blue geckos that hatched a few days before Christmas.

The critically endangered species can only be found in an 8-square-km (3-sq-mile) area of Tanzania. Cheng said the ability to breed it was valuable, just in case it should disappear in the wild.

The zoo also presented Khansa, a critically endangered female orangutan born in April last year, as well as a bevy of recently-born Asian small-clawed otters, one with an amputated forelimb.

Wildlife Reserves Singapore, which includes a bird park as well as river and night safaris, was considered the fourth best zoo in the world, a survey by Tripadvisor showed last year.    

(Reporting by Christophe Van Der Perre; Writing by Fathin Ungku; Editing by Karishma Singh and Clarence Fernandez)

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