The pygmy hippo from South Africa who stole our collective hearts when he was introduced to the world in late March died on the operating table during hernia surgery after suffering sudden respiratory failure.
"It is with great sadness that we announce that our beloved Prince Harry the pygmy hippo passed away at 10.30am this morning," said Cango Wildlife Ranch spokesperson Tammy Moult in a statement released yesterday. "Toni Inggs, Harry's 'mother' and caregiver is completely devastated, as are all the staff at the Cango Wildlife Ranch."
The three-month-old calf was being hand-raised by caretakers at Cango. He was rejected by his mother shortly after birth, but ranch staffers had high hopes for his chances of survival.
The ranch is engaged in an ongoing preservation and breeding campaign aimed at saving the critically endangered species. The latest reports indicate that fewer than 3,000 pygmy hippos remain in the wild.
Prince Harry is survived by his parents, Herbert and Hilda, and two siblings.