Fiona the baby hippo is only six months old, but has already won summer with her fun attitude and amazing story story that has inspired countless fans around the world. Her life didn’t get off to the best start, making us all lucky to be able to bask in her positive glow.
Fiona has come a long way since she was born weighing only 29 pounds. Her care team, including animal staff, vets, and the Zoo’s nutritionist, have monitored her diet composition and volume carefully for the past four months and she is now up to a healthy 265 pounds! It’s not all about putting on weight, Fiona has to exercise to make sure she builds the strength she needs to propel herself to the surface of deep pools and can support her growing body. #cincinnati #closeenoughtocare #cincinnatizoo #TeamFiona #fionafix #hippo
She was born six weeks premature in January 2017 at the Cincinnati Zoo. She only weighed 29 pounds, with most newborn hippos weighing between 55 and 120 pounds at birth. As the earlier and lightest premature hippo on record, the zoo wasn’t sure if she would make it.
But thanks to 24-hour attention and even help from the local children’s hospital, who helped with an IV when Fiona suffered from dehydration.
She beat all the odds though, growing bigger and stronger by the day. And with this, her popularity and social media following grew.
Baby Fiona has a little more energy this morning and has shown some suckling response. Her care team received a package from the preemie team at Cincinnati Children's Hospital that included signed superhero capes, a pre-filled baby book, a stuffed hippo, a beautiful note and much more. Thank you! Many of you have asked what you can do to help. We ask that you consider making a donation to help with the cost of 24-hour-a-day critical care. Visit the link in bio to donate. #cincinnati #cincinnatizoo #hippo #closeenoughtocare #TeamFiona
With daily updates, thousands of people would leave their comments of love for Fiona. Over the last six months, fans have seen Fiona take her first steps, her first swim and her first public appearances.
Fiona's care team is helping her get comfortable in the outdoor pool after hours. She is mastering her technique to get herself from the bottom up for air. She is figuring out where the shallow areas are and her care team is there if she needs them. We will let you know when she is ready for her public debut. #closeenoughtocare #cincinnati #cincinnatizoo #fionafix #TeamFiona #hippo
Most importantly, she has developed a relationship with her mom Bibi. As she was so premature, she needed 24-hour human care and wasn’t able to initially bond with her mom. The zoo was worried Bibi wouldn’t recognize or accept her, making it unsafe for them to be together.
Fiona again proved love conquers all and she’s been getting along great with mom. You can see them swimming, playing, sharing watermelons and having the best summer ever. Their BFF status now has a combined nickname BiFi (pronounced beefy)
She’s even starting to spend time with her dad Henry, but under a close eye from mom though.
The reunion we've been waiting for finally happened this morning when BiFi (power duo name for Fiona and her mom, Bibi) was joined by Fiona’s dad Henry. “The introduction lasted about an hour, and we couldn’t be more pleased with how it went,” said Christina G., curator of mammals at the Cincinnati Zoo. “Fiona has been exploring the outdoor habitat with her mom for several weeks and has had contact with Henry inside, but today was the first time that the three hippos have been together. Bibi was protective of Fiona and gave Henry cues about how to interact appropriately with the little one.” #closeenoughtocare #cincinnatizoo #cincinnati #teamfiona #hippo #fionafix
She’s recently started eating solid foods, which include watermelon, bananas, apples. She’s also loving life as a social media celeb and seems to know when to strike a pose for cameras and say hello to her fans.
Doing very well these days, she weighs in at around 400 pounds (of pure love).
Fiona showing off her porpoising skills! According to theAtlantic.com, "A hippo barreling through the water is often supported on two feet instead of four. It also helps that they (adults) can remain submerged for up to 30 minutes. “There are periods in which the hippopotami are ‘in flight’ with no feet in contact with the ground,” the paper says. "In deep water, they locomote by ‘a series of porpoise-like leaps off the bottom’ or in ‘a series of high, prancing steps.’” Hippos can do all this prancing because they’ve evolved with just the right combination of buoyancy and bone density to allow it." #cincinnatizoo #teamfiona #fionafix #cincinnati #closeenoughtocare #hippo #monday #mondayfunday #mondaymotivation
And make sure to check out her #TeamFiona music video below: