There are very few things that bring a universal smile to the faces of many. But baby hippos have to be one of those rare things, and if it’s not, well, that’s weird. If you need a pick-me-up today, the breaking news of the hour is that the beloved Fiona the hippo is finally a big sister, and the new little baby is, as expected, supremely adorable.
If you can remember, when Fiona was born in 2017, Bibi went into labor early, delivering six weeks premature. That meant Fiona had some struggles when she was first born. At that time, mama Bibi needed some extra help from the zoo staff for things like feeding Fiona — but that doesn’t seem to be the case this time around!
Christina Gorsuch, Cincinnati Zoo’s director of animal care, explained that the new baby weighs double what Fiona did at birth. And being full term means mama isn’t struggling like she was after giving birth to Fiona. But the staff is still keeping a close eye.
“We’re not sure if nursing has occurred yet because the water is murky,” Gorsuch said, according to People at the time. “It’s Bibi’s first time nursing, since Fiona had to be cared for by the hippo staff, so we’re keeping a close eye on them to make sure we don’t need to step in.”
The zoo released a few photos of the new baby hippo and let people know that the little one still needs a name.
“Bibi and the baby, yet to be named, will spend the next two weeks bonding behind the scenes,” Gorsuch said in the zoo’s news release. “A female would take her newborn away from the bloat for about that amount of time in the wild, and we try to give Bibi the choice to do what feels natural to her.”
For now, Tucker, the dad, and Fiona are hanging out together while mommy and the newborn bond on their own. “Keepers have been separating them from Bibi periodically over the past weeks to get them used to being a duo,” the zoo wrote in a statement. “They’re so comfortable with each other now that 2000-pound Fiona has been seen napping on 4500-pound Tucker.”
For now, baby and Bibi will spend two weeks on their own behind the scenes — similar to what they would do in the wild — before venturing out more.
Congrats to Bibi, Tucker, and Fiona, and welcome to the world, little hippo! In the meantime, you can suggest your own name for the little one on Cincinnati Zoo’s website.
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