Family Reunion: Born Premature Fiona The Hippo Is Reunited With Her Parents After 6 Months Apart

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July 12, 2017

Who doesn't love a good family reunion? And this reunion is nothing short of sweet. Cincinnati Zoo wrote on their Instagram: Family reunion! We've never been more excited about a post! BiFi (the power duo name that’s being used for Bibi and Fiona) was joined by Henry this morning for the first time. The three were introduced in Hippo Cove’s outdoor pool before the zoo opened, supervised by their care team. The short introduction went well. Bibi intervened when Henry got too close to Fiona, which was exactly what we were hoping to see. Introductions will continue. There is still no set schedule for when Fiona will be out. When she is out, she has access to go inside, so visitors may or may not see her. Please be understanding if you visit the zoo and Hippo Cove is closed off as the family needs time to get used to each other in the outdoor pool.

After being born prematurely in January, Fiona was removed from her parents so that the staff at the Cincinnati Zoo could care for the tiny calf 24 hours a day. Bibi, her 17-year-old mother went into labor 6 weeks early causing Fiona to be born at only 29 pounds. Zookeeper, Christina Gorsuch, of the Cincinnati Zoo said she looked like a normal calf but is very, very small. 

The average hippo weighs 55 to 120 pounds so Fiona was in desperate need for vets at the zoo to step in. Vets said she looked just like a normal calf but was much smaller. Immediately after she was born, Fiona was removed because she couldn’t be fed by her mother due to her size.

The staff at Cincinnati Zoo explained that Fiona would need some extra special care to help her develop into a normal hippo. After months apart, the time had finally come to bring this family back together. Hippo Cove, at the Cincinnati Zoo, is where the joyous occasion took place.

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“It has taken almost six months to reach this major milestone, and it feels great,” said Gorsuch. “There’s no manual on how to hand raise and reintroduce a premature hippo, but our animal care staff got Fiona through health hurdles and overcame curveballs to get us where we are now. Fiona now weighs a whopping 375 pounds and she is still progressing and gaining weight. ”I'm proud of our team," said Gorsuch. 

“Today was the first time that the three hippos have been together,” Gorsuch said. “The introduction lasted about an hour, and we couldn’t be more pleased about how it went.”

Mom (Bibi), Dad (Henry) and Fiona got to spend some time together. Bibi was protective of her baby but overall everything went very well. Dad and daughter bonded the way hippos do and as expected with Henry opening his mouth wide so that Fiona could stick her head inside and get to know her dad. We are very happy for this family of hippos. Watch the sweet reunion between Fiona and her parents below:

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