Cincinnati Zoo’s World-Famous Hippo Fiona to be a Big Sister! 🦛
Bibi’s big bundle of joy is expected to arrive late summer 2022
CINCINNATI, OH (April 11, 2022) — The Cincinnati Zoo & Botanical Garden dropped a couple of pregnancy hints on its social media channels yesterday and this morning, and thousands of followers went wild speculating that the Zoo would be welcoming everything from a baby frog to a baby elephant! The majority, however, guessed correctly that Bibi is pregnant!
“The hippo team is excited and also nervous,” said Eric Byrd, manager of Cincinnati Zoo’s Africa team. “As most people know, Bibi’s first baby, Fiona, was born six weeks premature and wouldn’t have survived without the intervention of her human caregivers. We are hoping for a full-term pregnancy and will be doing everything we can to support Bibi.”
Reproductive physiologists at the Zoo’s Center for Conservation and Research of Endangered Wildlife (CREW) are working with the hippo team and have started Bibi on hormone supplements. They will also perform regular ultrasounds to monitor the growth and health of the fetus.
Eighteen-year-old male hippo Tucker arrived in Hippo Cove on September 6, 2021, and was enamored with 23-year-old Bibi right away. The pair had a breeding recommendation from the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA) Species Survival Plan (SSP) Program, the group responsible for managing the health and genetic diversity in the hippo population in North American zoos.
“We weren’t planning to welcome a baby this soon, but nature found a way and ignored our calendar,” said Cincinnati Zoo’s director of animal care, Christina Gorsuch. “Most forms of contraception, in hippos or humans, is not 100% reliable. The dose that was previously effective for Bibi did not prevent pregnancy this time.”
Fiona fans all over the world will be thrilled to learn that she will be a big sister sooner than expected. The Zoo will be sharing updates on Bibi and baby preparations in the months leading up to the birth. Be sure to follow @CincinnatiZoo!
If you like babies, visit the Zoo in May for Zoo Babies, presented by General Electric Credit Union. The Zoo opens daily at 10 a.m. Early Entry allows members to enter at 9 a.m. Memberships are worth their wild and are on sale now through April 30! For more information, visit www.cincinnatizoo.org.