The Cincinnati Zoo just got a new addition to its family of wild animals. In January, the zoo welcomed a premature baby hippo that was born six weeks early, and they are giving her all the love and care she needs.
The baby hippo, named Fiona by zoo staff, is the first Nile hippo born at the Cincinnati Zoo in 75 years. On average, a baby hippo can weigh anywhere from 55 to 120 pounds. When Fiona was born, she only weighed a mere 29 pounds. Since birth, Fiona has gained four pounds but remains about 20 pounds at the low end of a normal weight for a Nile hippo. That means the zoo staffers are giving her around the clock care, providing her with warmth, exercise, and plenty of nourishment.
“Nursery and animal care staff are with the calf 24 hours a day,” a spokesperson for the zoo said, adding, “They are making sure she gets plenty of rest and packing awake time with activities that will stimulate muscles and build strength.” In a video, posted by the Cincinnati Zoo, a caretaker is helping Fiona stand up for the very first time. In the adorable video, Fiona is tiny compared to the average baby hippo, but she is doing her best. A spokesperson added that every day, Fiona is making progress when it comes to standing. “She is starting to support her weight for a few seconds at a time,” they commented.
With lots of love and enormous amounts of attention, Fiona will hopefully be walking without the help of others. This baby hippo has captured the hearts of thousands on social media. Since uploading the video on YouTube, it has been viewed almost 40,000 times.
Fiona does her best to get up on her own in the clip, and we love that she is making good progress. The baby hippo gets a little shaky at the start but manages to stay standing for a good 15 seconds. Can we also mention that baby Fiona has the most adorable face? With one staff member talking to her and giving her the confidence she needs, we know Fiona will be able to walk all by herself in no time.
Even the nursing staff at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center’s Neonatal Intensive Care Unit loved seeing baby Fiona so much that they sent her a care package that included a stuffed animal, a baby book filled with information about Fiona, and four superhero capes signed by 200 staff members. It is definitely great to see people caring so much for this premature baby hippo. We hope with tons of love and affection, she’ll be able to do things on her own.