Fiona – the miracle baby hippo

Jun 10th, 2017 | By | Category: Featured articles

10.6.2017 – Source: The Cincinnati Zoo

I’m sure many of you have been following sweet Fiona in Facebook but I want to introduce her here, too. Here are some mile stones in her Life. You can follow the whole story in the Cincinnati Zoo’s Facebook site.

Fiona (the baby hippo) became instantly famous when she was born premature on January 24, 2017. At the time of her birth, she only weighed 29 pounds. This was 25 pounds lighter than the lowest recorded birth weight for the species, with normal weights ranging from 55-120 pounds. But thanks to round-the-clock care by the Cincinnati Zoo team, she is thriving.

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And on Wednesday, May 31, Fiona made her media debut in the hippo cave. She needs to continue to get used to life in the great outdoors and the public spotlight before she can make her official debut, but the Zoo hopes/thinks that will be soon.

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Fiona is up to 250 pounds! Her mom, Bibi, is more than ten times bigger than her baby, weighing about 3200 pounds! Fiona weighed only 29 pounds when she was born and is the smallest Nile hippo on record to have survived.

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Fiona is a healthy hippo today because of our outstanding vet staff. When she was in critical condition as a preemie, they fed Fiona via tube when she couldn’t get nourishment any other way. They spent the night with her. They worked with the Zoo’s nutritionist to get her formula just right. They drew blood, gave injections, monitored oxygen levels and body temperature, and worried along with the rest of us. Dr. Nollman, pictured with Fiona, and the other vets still check on her daily. They are happy with her progress and are optimistic that she’s well on her way to growing up normally and becoming a healthy adult.

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Although Fiona is usually pretty quiet, keepers have heard occasional vocalizations from her including grunts around meal time and even a bellow from time to time in response to the adults’ contact calls or to express excitement or frustration.

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9th of June 2017

A big milestone has been reached! Fiona and Bibi are now spending some time together in the same space! Fiona has two points of exit when she and Bibi share space, and her care team supervises the short interactions. Bibi sits in a relaxed position while Fiona explores, and licks, her big body!

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  1. Dear Mervi!
    What an amount of sweet pics!
    Since I have got no facebook account I ´m happy you brought this photo series to us.
    Fiona this little survival artist is unbelievable cute and adorable.
    I was delighted when considering the pics and wish this little hippo all the best and that she can stay with her mother permanently from now on.


  2. Liebe Mervi

    Mit der Handaufzucht des Nilpferds ist dem Zoo Team
    etwas besonderes gelungen. Ich habe davon bei
    Nilpferden noch nie gehört. Aber die durchge-
    machten Nächte haben sich gelohnt. Das
    kleine Hippo ist gewachsen und gesund.
    In der Natur hätte es sicher keine Chance
    gehabt. Danke für dein interessanten Beitrag!

    Herzliche Grüße
    Chris 🙂

  3. Liebe Mervi!

    Die Kleine ist ja süß! Danke fürs Zeigen, super dass es Fiona so gut geht.

    Liebe Grüße, Erika

  4. Dear Mervi
    Hippos are among my top favourite animals, so I am very grateful to
    you and Cincinatti Zoo for bringing us this story. Fiona is delightful
    as is Bibi.

  5. Liebe Mervi,
    ganz niedlich die Kleine und jetzt kommt der Lohn für die großartige Leistung von Tierärzten und Pfleger.
    Das Baby-Hippo wird zur Mutter gelassen und hat so alle Chancen ein normales Zooleben führen zu können.
    Alles Gute für die Kleine!
    Vielen Dank für diesen mit so schönen Bildern bestückten Bericht.
    Liebe Grüße Moni K

  6. Liebe Mervi,

    mittlerweile habe ich ganz viele Videos von dem kleinen und unterdessen schon recht groß gewordenen Hippo gesehen. Es gab auch ein Bild zu sehen, wo es eine Sauerstoffnasenbrille vor seinen großen Nasenlöchern hatte, dieser Anblick ist mir ja nicht fremd….

    Die Aufzucht ist bestimmt einmalig und gleich so erfolgreich gelungen. Da kann man dem Zoo mit seinen Ärzten und Pflegern wirklich von Herzen gratulieren. Nun scheint selbst die Zusammenführung mit der Mutter zu gelingen, das ist natürlich ganz großartig.

    Wie oberniedlich die Fotos sind, brauche ich wohl nicht zu betonen, nicht wahr?
    Vielen Dank für diesen tollen Bericht, den ich als Nicht-Kunde bei Facebook auch nicht kannte.

    Herzliche Grüße

  7. Dear Mervi,
    thanks for showing. And all the best for the little one.
    Hugs Inge

  8. Liebe Mervi,

    ist das eine süße Speckschwarrte.
    Ich habe auch noch nie davon gehört, dass ein kleines Hippo von den Pflegern aufgezogen wird.

    Schön ist es, dass Fiona wieder mit ihrer Mutter zusammengeführt wurde.
    Ich wünsche der Kleinen weiterhin alles Gute.

    Liebe Grüße

  9. Dear Mervi, via ZooBorns, I learned and followed the developments of little Fiona, but thanks to you, I could now see a lot of lovely pics of this petietje and also videos, especially with regard to the re-introduction with her mother. This zoo really made a great job, not only to keep a premature-born hippo alive but most of all, to reach these results. I am wishing them (zoo, keepers and hippos) all the best.

  10. The CINCINNATI ZOO seems to have a very good press department.
    Once in a while I see reports from there via E-Mail – and they are always good with nice pictures.
    Very sweet pictures and interesting report nad video also here about FIONA, the prematured hippo-girsl.

    Thanks to the ZOO. Thanks to MERVI!