Happy 2nd Birthday to Cincinnati Zoo’s Thousand-Pound Toddler

Posted January 23, 2019

World-famous hippo Fiona reaches another huge milestone

Cincinnati, OH (January 23, 2019)— Cincinnati’s favorite baby hippo will enter what her care team hopes will not be her “terrible twos” tomorrow! This is another major milestone for the preemie that almost didn’t make it, weighing a fifth of what a normal baby hippo would weigh when she was born on January 24, 2017.

“Fiona is remarkable for being unremarkable now,” said Cincinnati Zoo Curator of Mammals Christina Gorsuch.  “She’s just like most other 2-year-old hippos, except for the fact that she’s a celebrity in Cincinnati and beyond!”

Last year, the Zoo hosted a big party to celebrate Fiona’s first birthday, but this year the party will be behind the scenes and shared by the Zoo tomorrow via Facebook Live starting at 10 a.m. EST. The Zoo will also share special moments from the past two years on social throughout the day using #TeamFiona. It will be too cold for the birthday girl to go out on her big day, but Fiona fans who come anyway will get a discount in the Zoo’s gift shops – 10% for non-members and 20% for members.

Some of the Zoo’s local partners are joining in the birthday fun…

  • Chunky Chunky Hippo is out “full” time at Graeter’s Ice Cream
  • Listermann Brewing Company re-released Team Fiona in cans ($14.99/4 pack) and Team Fiona Hippo Party (16.99/4 pack).
  • Cincy Shirts – Celebrate Fiona’s birthday with a FREE #TeamFiona temporary tattoo with every Fiona item sold until 1/24.

The Zoo hosted a public party last month when Fiona reached 1,000 pounds, inviting fans to take a short walk for a big milestone. A thousand fans participated in the Fiona 1K Walk in the pouring rain!!  “The enthusiasm and loyalty that Fiona fans have for her is like nothing I’ve ever seen,” said Cincinnati Zoo Director Thane Maynard, who marched along with them and stood out for wearing the least amount of hippo-themed gear! (see video) “The positive energy is contagious! Some of her super fans gather at Hippo Cove almost every day  to enjoy the company of other Fiona enthusiasts and catch a glimpse of her.”

Fiona the Hippo Ambassador

Fiona weighed 29 pounds when she was born, which is about 25 pounds lighter than the lowest recorded birth weight for this species.  The normal range is 55-120 pounds.  She has become an ambassador for her species and a great example of why zoos exist.  She survived because of her animal care team’s tireless efforts to save her and has inspired so many to care about her species and wildlife, which is Cincinnati Zoo’s mission.

While not considered endangered, wild populations are currently declining due to habitat loss and degradation, increased incidence of drought, and some poaching. Increased drought and less rainfall means there is less grazing areas for hippos to rely on for food. They will travel upwards of 35km in one night to find food, but the larger issue is that by having to search for food or water, there is a much greater chance of conflict with people/livestock, especially since the human population is increasing.