Choeropsis liberiensis heslopi Corbet, 1969

Heslop's Pygmy Hippo[potamus], Niger Delta Pygmy Hippo[potamus]



Taxonomy & Nomenclature

Synonym/s: Hexaprotodon liberiensis heslopi Corbet, 1969; Hexaprotodon heslopi Corbet, 1969; Choeropsis heslopi Corbet, 1969


Four skulls acquired by Heslop (1945) were examined by Corbet (1969), who placed them into a new subspecies Choeropsis liberiensis heslopi. Doubt has been cast over whether a disjunct population of the pygmy hippopotamus ever occurred in Nigeria. Uncertainty also exists over whether or not the species still survives there, if it ever did.


Conservation Status


Last record: 1945 or before

IUCN RedList status: Indeterminate


Reports of single animals in the OdiSampou area were made in the 1990's (Blench, undated). Reports persist until the present day in two other areas within the Niger Delta (Ibid.).



Niger Delta, Nigeria


Biology & Ecology










Original scientific description:

Corbet, G. B. (1969). The taxonomic status of the pygmy hippopotamus, Choeropsis liberiensis, from the Niger Delta. Journal of Zoology 158(3): 387-394. [Abstract]


Other references:

Anadu, P. A. and Oates, J. F. (1982). The status of wildlife in Bendel State, Nigeria, with Recommendations for its Conservation. A report prepared for submission to the Bendel State Ministry of Agriculture and Natural Resources, the Nigerian Federal Ministry of Agriculture, the Nigerian conservation Foundation, the New York zoological society and the World Wildlife Fund (US). December 1982. pp. iii + 41. (WWF/IUCN Project 1613.)

Blench, Roger. (undated). Mammals of the Niger Delta, Nigeria. Available at:

Eltringham, S. K. (1993). The Pygmy Hippopotamus (Hexaprotodon liberiensis). Section 3.3 pp 55-60 in: Oliver, Wm L R (ed.). Pigs Peccaries, and Hippos. Status survey and conservation action plan. IUCN/SSC Pigs & Peccaries Specialist Group; and IUCN/SSC Hippo Specialist Group. xiii + 202pp. IUCN, Gland, Switzerland.

Gippoliti, Spartaco, Cotterill, Fenton P. D., Zinner, Dietmar and Groves, Colin P. (2017). Impacts of taxonomic inertia for the conservation of African ungulate diversity:an overview. Biological Reviews. doi: 10.1111/brv.12335

Heslop, I. R. P. (1935). Report on the vertebrate fauna of the Owerri Province of Nigeria. Occasional Paper of the Society for the Preservation of the Fauna of the Empire. No. 4, pp 1-82

Heslop, I. R. P. (1945). The pygmy hippopotamus in Nigeria Field, (Nigeria) 185: 629-630.

Lewison, R. & Oliver, W. (2008). Choeropsis liberiensis. In: IUCN 2011. IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2011.1. ( Downloaded on 29 October 2011.

Mallon, D., Wightman, C., De Ornellas, P., Collen, B. and Ransom, C. (Compilers). (2011). Conservation Strategy for the Pygmy Hippopotamus. IUCN Species Survival Commission. Gland, Switzerland and Cambridge, UK.

Ritchie, J. (1930). Distribution of the pygmy hippopotamus. Nature, 126: 204-205.

Robinson, P. T. (1970). The status of the pigmy hippopotamus and other wildlife in West Africa. (Unpubl.) M. S. Thesis, University of Michigan: 80 pp.

Spartaco, Gippoliti et al. (2017). Impacts of taxonomic inertia for the conservation of African ungulate diversity: An overview. Biological Reviews. doi: 10.1111/brv.12335.


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