Fiona the Hippo, the Hero, the Legend

But can she make up for the death of Harambe?

Buckle up, folks. A new star has graced our Twitter feeds, and she’s swum right into America’s hearts. Her name is Fiona, the new baby hippo at the Cincinnati Zoo.

Look at her go!

You may remember the Cincinnati Zoo from 2016, when our main man Harambe unjustly lost his life after a child fell into his habitat. The zoo got itself together, and may have gotten back in the good graces of the public after their efforts to help the calf grow up big and healthy. 

Before Fiona was even born she was making history. The Cincinnati Zoo was curious to see if their female hippo, Bibi, was pregnant after being in habitation with Henry, the male hippo, so they performed the first ever hipp-o-ltrasound, and saw little Fiona for the first time in utero. Besides this being super exciting, the staff also got a better idea of when the little bundle of joy would come into the world and allowed them to prepare accordingly.

However, always one for surprises, Fiona popped out six weeks before she was due. While the hospital staff was excited, they were incredibly nervous and fearful of her chances at surviving so prematurely born. She was so little, she couldn’t even feed from her mother, and the Zookeepers had to step in.

The internet often has a predilection for cute baby animals, and with good reason. But Fiona here is a special case.

At first, she wouldn’t even bottle-feed. The Zookeepers had to give her a feeding tube so she could get the good hippo nutrients she needed. But there was another problem: Where were they going to get hippo milk? They had formula for many other animals, but the hippo was a milky mystery. Through this came another first: Milking a hippo. After the zoo staff got some milk, they sent it to be analyzed for its compositions of fats, carbs, and proteins, so they could properly replicate Bibi’s milk for Fiona.

Everything was going pretty well. The Zookeepers started to relax, but soon Fiona fell ill. Her body temp was much lower than the 98-100 degrees a baby hippo should be, and she stopped taking all fluids. Thankfully, the lovely people at the Cincinnati Children’s Vascular Access Team stepped in and gave her fluids via an IV, and she perked right back up.

Now, she’s as healthy and happy as normal 7-month-old hippo, though she’s anything but. With the Cincinnati Zoo’s Twitter having over 175,000 followers, pictures of Fiona have garnered much attention, with all of Twitter cheering on her weekly weight gains and ear-wiggle videos. 

Oh, and she’s definitely named Fiona after Princess Fiona of Shrek.

If you want to stay updated on Fiona, here’s a link to her daily happenings. Her bubble enrichment videos are my personal fave. Enjoy!