Join #TeamFiona

Please keep in mind that while you may see Fiona’s parents Henry and BiBi outside, Fiona is still behind the scenes for now.  We will make an announcement when she goes outside.

Saturday, April 29, 2017

The indoor pool is up to 4 feet deep and Fiona is doing well navigating the deeper water. #TeamFiona

Friday, April 28, 2017

Thursday, April 27, 2017

Fiona mid ear wiggle!

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Reintroductions with her mom have begun but will be a slow process. Bibi is showing interest in Fiona and watches her eat, sleep, and go in and out of her pool.

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Fiona is spending more time in the indoor adult pools and getting comfortable with deeper water. She porpoises, pushing off the bottom like a torpedo, up and down across the length of both pools and attempts water acrobatics. She has also figured out that she can keep her nostrils above water if she stands on her back legs, so you can see her walking upright at times. The water is about 3 ft deep now and will be raised to 4 ft by the end of the week. It will continue to be filled higher until her care team thinks she’s ready to navigate in the outdoor pool, which is 8-9 ft deep.

Monday, April 24, 2017

Sunday, April 23, 2017

Saturday, April 22, 2017

Dan from the hippo team gets a warm greeting from Fiona. The baby hippo has been raised by a team of human caregivers since she was born, six weeks premature, on January 24.

 Friday, April 21, 2017

Fiona weighed in at 166lbs this morning! She is consuming 360oz. of formula per day as well as some hay.

Thursday, April 20, 2017

Throw Back Thursday! Fiona has come a long way, she will be 3 months old on Monday!


Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Fiona’s morning routine includes walking onto a scale to get weighed and moving from there to the kitchen to drink about 60 ounces of formula. To encourage activity, her care team lets her explore the Fiona-proofed areas of the building (chaperoned). A few days ago, she walked into the dive room shower and stood there. Since hippos like to be wet, her caregiver turned on the water. Fiona played and eventually took a nap with the water running.


Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Fiona weighed in at 166lbs this morning! She is consuming 360oz. of formula per day as well as some hay. #TeamFiona

Monday, April 17, 2017

Sometimes Fiona chooses to sleep in the odd position!

Sunday, April 16, 2017

Fiona weighs almost 160 pounds and is getting big and strong on her diet of formula and hay.

Saturday, April 15, 2017

Fiona is spending more time in the indoor adult pool getting used to deeper water. Her care team stays close by to make sure she’s comfortable as she tests the waters. The depth of the water will gradually increase along with her ability to hold her breath for longer periods. #TeamFiona

Friday, April 14, 2017

Fiona’s full introduction to her parents will take time, but she is now able to touch her mom, Bibi, through mesh in her neighboring stall. They spent some time checking each other out, nose to nose, this morning.

Thursday, April 13, 2017

Fiona has reached an important milestone. She has been introduced to the indoor pools that her mom and dad use. They were drained to a manageable depth for her and will become deeper as she masters propelling herself to the surface for air. One of many things she must master before venturing into the outdoor hippo habitat is being able to navigate in deeper water.

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

Fiona got a visit from the head of #TeamFiona this morning! Zoo Director Thane Maynard stopped by to check in with the care staff and give our favorite baby hippo a pat.

Tuesday, April 11, 2017

Fiona is closing in on 150lbs! She’s drinking 64 oz of formula 5 times a day! Go #TeamFiona

Monday, April 10, 2017

Head keeper Wendy explains milestones that will have to be reached before Fiona can share the same space as her parents in today’s blog post.


Sunday, April 9, 2017

Just like human babies, Fiona needs her naps.#TeamFiona 

Saturday, April 8, 2017

Adult Nile hippos can run faster than a human can, reaching speeds up to 18 mph on land. Fiona isn’t quite that fast yet, but she’s working on it.

Friday, April 7, 2017

Nile hippos spend up to 16 hours a day in water. They are often submerged in rivers and lakes and are sometimes referred to as river horses. Fiona can choose to be in her pool or out. She loves water play and it’s good exercise for her.

Thursday, April 6, 2017

Fiona is still being cared for behind the scenes and isn’t able to be seen by guests at this time. We will make a BIG announcement when she’s ready to venture outside.  #TeamFiona

Wednesday, April 5, 2017

Fiona discovering the fun of a sprinkler. #TeamFiona. Enrichment is an important part of the daily care we provide to all of our animals. Enrichment is anything the caregivers add to the animals’ environments to stimulate their senses and elicit natural behaviors such as foraging, exploration, hunting, problem solving, and even play.

Tuesday, April 4, 2017

130 pounds of attitude!  #TeamFiona

Monday, April 3, 2017 (aka Reds Opening Day!)

Go Reds!  #TeamFiona is rooting for the home team!

Sunday, April 2, 2017

Baby hippo Fiona likes to relax on her inflatable pool float. Hippos don’t actually float or swim. They walk along the bottom of pools and propel themselves to the surface to get air. #TeamFiona

Saturday, April 1, 2017

Fiona’s molars are starting to break through, so her care team is making sure she has teething objects handy. #TeamFiona

Friday, March 31, 2017

Sweet dreams! Like human babies, Fiona occasionally suckles in her sleep. Caregivers say that the 9-week-old hippo has been an active dreamer since she was born. #TeamFiona

Thursday, March 30, 2017

Good morning! Africa Team Leader Dana gets a greeting from Fiona. The baby hippo has been raised by a team of human caregivers since she was born, six weeks premature, on January 24, 2017. She recognizes her surrogates and presents herself for a pat or splash when one is close by. #TeamFiona

Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Large and in charge! Fiona weighed in at 116 pounds this morning and gets stronger every day! Adult Nile hippos weigh an average of 3500 pounds and can crush a crocodile with their jaws and sharp teeth! #TeamFiona

Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Fiona catches a glimpse of her parents in their outdoor habitat. She isn’t quite ready to venture out herself but is getting familiar with the look and smell of the great outdoors!

In Africa, the great outdoors is constantly changing. A changing climate will impact a hippo’s habitat. River systems and wetlands are a major part of a hippo’s life, but increasing global temperatures and shifts in precipitation patterns will lessen the amount of water these lands receive, directly impacting a hippo’s home. Together, we can reduce our fossil fuel usage and carbon dioxide gas emissions in order to help protect habitats and livelihoods for future generations of healthy hippos and happy people. #teamfiona

Monday, March 27, 2017

Baby hippo Fiona continues to grow and is doing well. She weighs 112 pounds! #TeamFiona

Sunday, March 26, 2017

Fiona fix!

Saturday, March 25, 2017

Fiona is starting to explore larger spaces to get exercise and gain muscle strength. She even tests out her speed.

Friday, March 24, 2017

Fiona fix!

Thursday, March 23, 2017

Water play is an important form of exercise for Fiona. As you can see, she enjoys this activity and has learned how to go up and down the ramp to her smaller water tub all by herself! #TeamFiona

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Fiona is learning to be more independent and spending less time physically touching her human caregivers. This is all part of the plan to transition her to being in the hippo bloat. Find out more from head keeper Wendy by clicking here.

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Fiona tipped the scales at 101 pounds this morning. This significant milestone puts her closer to becoming a real hippo! She has a great appetite and is now consuming hay and grain in addition to formula. Go #TeamFiona!

Monday, March 20, 2017

Since hippos spend so much time in the water, they have the unique ability to not only sleep under water but also automatically raise their nostrils above the surface for a breath without even waking up! Fiona is now able to nap underwater as well! Adult hippos can hold their breath for several minutes but Fiona comes up about every 15 seconds. As she grows larger her lung capacity will increase.

Sunday, March 19, 2017

Pool time = play time.  #FionaFix #TeamFiona

Saturday, March 18, 2017

Hungry hungry hippo! Fiona is now over 90lbs! A newborn full term hippo calf weighs between 50-110lbs

Friday, March 17, 2017

It’s your lucky day! Were here for a special St. Patrick’s Day #fblive with everyone’s favorite hippo, Fiona, and her care team!

Thursday, March 16, 2017

Fiona ate hay for the first time today! Not just any hay, but hay that had been pre-chewed by her mom. Bibi’s saliva helps exposes Fiona’s gut to the good healthy bacteria that will help her body process vegetation. The foam you see around Fiona’s mouth is extra saliva that her body is producing to help with swallowing and digestion. She doesn’t have molars yet, so the saliva starts breaking down the hay and makes it soft enough to swallow. Go #TeamFiona

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Fiona’s parents, Bibi and Henry, both enjoy hose play, and it looks like it runs in the family. This was her first experience with this type of enrichment. The water was slightly cooler than it is in her pool but not chilled. Her care team has to pay attention to details like water temperatures because Fiona is not fully able to thermoregulate her own body.

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Fiona is getting bigger and so is her bedroom!

Monday, March 13, 2017

With some health hurdles behind us, Fiona’s care team is feeling more optimistic. Learn more about her progress in this blog post by head keeper Wendy Rice.

Sunday, March 12, 2017

Fiona Fix. Fiona is spending more and more time in the water and is up to 5 pool sessions a day! Go #TeamFiona

Saturday, March 11, 2017

Fiona Fix. Fiona is now over 80lbs! Go #TeamFiona

Friday, March 10, 2017

Answers to our most asked question – How and when Fiona might be reunited with Bibi and Henry? Watch the video below to find out!

Thursday, March 9, 2017

The nursery staff is sharing expertise with others on the Fiona care team. Dan, who helps take care of Fiona and her parents, is learning the art of bottle feeding a baby hippo. He, and others on the hippo care staff, will continue to give Fiona bottles even after she is reunited with her parents. #TeamFiona

Wednesday, March 8, 2017

Open wide! Fiona is just a beginner but will be able to open her mouth at an impressive 150 degree angle like her parents, Bibi and Henry, one of these days! #FionaFix #TeamFiona #HippoGoals




Tuesday, March 7, 2017

With Fiona’s recent weight gain and improved health, it’s only natural that many of us are thinking about the distant future and asking how and when Fiona might be reunited with Bibi and Henry. Click here to find the answers on our blog.


Monday, March 6, 2017

Fiona is up to 73 pounds and is getting a little too heavy for her care staff lift in and out of the pool. So, she’s learning to use a ramp. When she first saw the ramp, she needed some coaxing to step on it. After a few days, she went up and down with little assistance. Way to go #TeamFiona!

Sunday, March 5, 2017

Today’s Fiona fix!


Saturday, March 4, 2017

Fiona’s animal care staff appreciates your love and support. Jenna takes time to show Fiona some of her fan mail. #TeamFiona

Friday, March 3, 2017

Fiona is gaining weight steadily and is up to 68 pounds! She’s got a long way to go before she reaches her adult weight of approximately 3,000 pounds, but her care staff loves the progress she’s making.

Thursday, March 2, 2017

Get a glimpse of Fiona’s underwater moves. She’s working hard on doing a roll but hasn’t quite made it 360 yet. #TeamFiona

Wednesday, March 1, 2017

Fiona has graduated to a big girl bottle and has a big girl appetite to match! Check out her milk mustache. #teamfiona #fionafix

Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Happy Fat Tuesday! Fiona weighed in at 63lbs this morning! Go #TeamFiona!

Monday, February 27, 2017

The last week has been especially exciting for #TeamFiona. Hear more from Fiona’s animal care staff about her progress in the new blog.

Sunday, February 26, 2017

Fiona continues to do better with bottle feedings.  She weighs 59 pounds, 30 more than when she was born! #TeamFiona

Saturday, February 25, 2017

Today’s Fiona Fix!

Friday, February 24, 2017

T-shirt sales ended March 10. Here’s a fun way to join #TeamFiona. Baby hippo Fiona arrived six weeks early and has required 24-hour-a-day critical care since she was born on January 24. A portion of the proceeds from the #TeamFiona shirts and magnets will help cover the cost of providing the level of support that our preemie needs. The campaigns end on March 10th so order yours today! Thank you!

Orders need to be placed individually from each campaign. If you’d like to order a shirt and a magnet, two separate orders will need to be placed.

One-month-old Fiona has outgrown two pools already! Now that her IV has been removed, vets have given her the okay to resume supervised pool time.  Hippos don’t actually swim.  They float and are able to hold their breath for long periods. Spending time in the pool will help Fiona build muscle and lung strength, keep her skin moist and let her act like a hippo! Her new pool, purchased with your donations, is set up close to mom and dad so she can hear and smell them. #TeamFiona

Thursday, February 23, 2017

Fiona got pool time today for the first time in almost a week!  Now that her IV is out, she can resume pool exercises. Wait for the snort at the end. #TeamFiona

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Hippos can open their mouths to a massive 150 degrees. The large ‘yawn’ is usually interpreted as an aggressive behavior, but we think Fiona is just opening wide! Speaking of wide, she has gained a few pounds and is now up to 54. 

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Good news! Fiona took two bottles this morning and seems to have more energy. She’s still receiving fluids via IV but she is able to get up and move around with help from #TeamFiona

Blake Gustafson and Darcy Doellman from the Cincinnati Children’s Vascular Access Team with Fiona.

Monday, February 20, 2017

When premature baby hippo Fiona became dehydrated and in need of IV fluids, Zoo veterinary staff reached out to the Cincinnati Children’s nationally-renowned Vascular Access Team (VAT), and, like a good neighbor, they rushed over to help. Read more here.

Plus, learn more about what it takes to care for a premature baby hippo from Fiona’s care team in this new blog!

Sunday, February 19, 2017

Fiona is still getting fluids via IV and doing a little better on the bottle.  Baby steps in the right direction! #TeamFiona 

Saturday, February 18, 2017

Fiona took a bottle this morning and then fell asleep. The vet staff will tube feed if necessary, but we’re hoping that it’s not. She is receiving fluids via IV. #TeamFiona

Friday, February 17, 2017

Fiona is still not showing much interest in her bottle and is lethargic.  She is receiving fluids via tube feedings, so her weight gain is slight but fine.  In addition to providing relief for her teething pain, vets are investigating other causes for her recent setback.  Everyone at the Zoo is thankful for the love and support our community has shown us for the past three weeks.  Please keep the positive energy flowing.  #TeamFiona

Thursday, February 16, 2017

Dr. Jenny gives Fiona her morning check up. She gained almost a pound since yesterday but got most of her nutrition via tube. Hoping bottle feeding improves when tusks break through. She continues to get supplemental oxygen via nasal cannula. #TeamFiona


Wednesday, February 15, 2017

It’s Fiona’s first National Hippo Day and we are all celebrating the fact that she’s here.  The three-week-old hippo has good days and bad days, just like most preemies, and the past couple of days have been rough.  She is not taking the bottle well, possibly due to teething discomfort, and has not been gaining weight like she did last week.  Her animal care team provides gum pain relief with topical numbing solution and frozen cloths.  Please continue to send positive energy her way! #TeamFiona

Monday, February 13, 2017

Fiona is teething which makes feeding time a little uncomfortable for her.


Sunday, February 12, 2017

Get a firsthand account of baby hippo Fiona’s birth and first days from  one of her caregivers in this new blog.



Saturday, February 11, 2017

Here with your Fiona Fix!


Friday, February 10, 2017

Friday Fiona Fix. Fiona has graduated to a “big kid” pool and continues to make progress with her coordination in the water.


Thursday, February 9, 2017

Hooray! Fiona continues to improve and gain weight. She’s hit the 40lbs mark!

Wednesday, February 8, 2017

Fiona continues to improve but still needs 24/7 care from vets, nursery, animal and nutrition staff.  She needs O2 to make sure that the oxygen levels in her blood stay in the normal range. Thank you for your continued support to help cover the cost of her care and medical supplies. Donations are still welcome and needed.

Donate to Fiona’s care fund

Tuesday, February 7, 2017

Fiona was up 1.7 pounds at this morning’s weigh in and is doing well with bottle feedings. She gets pool exercise 2-3 times per day to help her build strength and get the hang of diving, floating and breathing!  A low dose of supplemental oxygen helps her premature lungs function properly.

 Monday, February 6, 2017

Fiona had another good night and drank more from her bottle this afternoon than she has to date.  She is now able to suckle both in and out of the water and is gaining weight.  As of this morning, she was up to almost 37 pounds! Go #TeamFiona!

Sunday, February 5, 2017

Encouraging news from hippo headquarters this morning. Fiona was active during the night and consumed a good amount of formula on her own!  This video, taken by her animal care staff during the overnight shift, shows Fiona’s first steps! Keep the positive vibes coming!

Saturday, February 4, 2017

Fiona remains in stable condition today.  To regulate her oxygen intake and minimize the dive reflex, caregivers position her chest to chest so she can feel normal breathing. Her premature lungs absorb CO2 when she holds her breath (dive reflex) and cause oxygen levels to dip.

Friday, February 3, 2017

Fiona continues to have a weak suckling response and her energy is low today.  The premature baby hippo’s vet team is making sure she gets fluids and some mother’s milk every few hours via tube. The Zoo’s animal care team is working 24/7 to help Fiona gain weight and get stronger. Please continue to send positive vibes to Fiona and her care team.

Thursday, February 2, 2017

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.


Tuesday, January 31, 2017

The Cincinnati Zoo’s week-old hippo calf will be called Fiona, which means “fair”.

“Even though Fiona’s not out of the woods yet, every baby needs a name and her animal care team thought the name was a perfect fit for their “fair” little girl,” said Christina Gorsuch, curator of mammals at the Cincinnati Zoo. “They have been with her 24 hours a day and think this name suits her personality.”

The calf arrived six weeks earlier than her expected March due date and has been receiving critical care from Zoo staff since vets determined that she was too weak to stand to nurse from mom, seventeen-year-old Bibi. She is being cared for in close proximity to mom and dad, Henry, so they can hear and smell each other.

“She still has a long way to go before she’ll be strong enough to be reunited with her mom,” said Gorsuch.  “She needs to learn how to nurse on her own, walk, swim and get a lot bigger.”

Monday, January 30, 2017

The fight to nurse our premature baby hippo to health continues.  At this morning’s AM wellness check the zoo veterinarians found that the hippo baby’s glucose levels were low and her Ph levels were off. They have inserted an IV for fluids, dextrose, and supportive supplements as needed to get numbers up to where they should be. She has been gaining weight steadily since she was born, on January 24, but did not gain any weight since yesterday. It is not uncommon for premature babies to experience difficulty with digestion and  regulating their metabolism. The animal care staff is adjusting her formula and supplements in order to aid with digestion. Her care team continues to work around the clock to help her stabilize and gain strength.







Sunday, January 29, 2017

Baby hippo got lots of sound sleep last night and was doing well in the pool this morning. Her care team has been supporting her with pool noodles in the water to help with balance. She was able to stand without the noodles, holding her own weight, and even dipped her face under water and blew bubbles. The six-week premature calf is still struggling with bottle feeding but has started to suckle a bit.

Saturday, January 28, 2017

The four-day-old hippo that was born six weeks early is making progress toward standing. She has gained almost four pounds since birth but is still about twenty pounds under the low end of a normal birth weight for a Nile hippo. Nursery and animal care staff are with the calf 24 hours a day providing warmth, nourishment and opportunities to exercise. They are making sure she gets plenty of rest and packing awake time with activities that will stimulate muscles and build strength. She is starting to support her weight for a few seconds at a time.

Friday, January 27, 2017

The premature baby hippo is getting stronger thanks, in part, to nutrients she’s receiving from her mother’s milk. Because Bibi was conditioned to lean in and remain still for weekly ultrasounds throughout her pregnancy, she is comfortable walking into a chute and allowing milk to be collected.  The calf’s care team, which includes vets, nursery and animal staff, give her mom’s milk first and supplement with formula prepared by the Zoo’s nutritionist.

Some of Bibi’s milk will be saved, analyzed and added to the Smithsonian’s Milk Repository.  Milk nutrient content changes over time.  “Since we are able to get daily samples of Bibi’s millk, we have a rare opportunity to learn more about specific changes in this species,” said Zoo nutritionist Barbara Henry.

Thursday, January 26, 2017

Our two-day-old baby hippo, born six week early, is hanging in there.  Her care team continues to give her 24-hour attention, which includes tube-feedings, vet checks and keeping her warm and moist.  She is gaining some strength.  This morning she got her first pool experience.  Most hippos are born in the water, but they can’t actually swim. Pool time will help her build muscles and balance and maintain an optimal body temperature of 96-98 degrees.

Wednesday, January 25, 2017

The premature baby hippo born early yesterday morning, six weeks before her due date, remained stable overnight and is receiving around-the-clock intensive care from Zoo vets and animal care staff. Her mom, Bibi, is doing fine and, because of her experience standing still for ultrasounds, is allowing milk to be collected. Vets are adding mom’s milk to a fluid mixture that is being tube-fed to the baby. She is still too weak to stand but the nutrients she’s receiving should help her gain strength.

More about the baby: