Featured Image Credit: Lisa Hubbard
At the Cincinnati Zoo… a little hippo caused a big hullabaloo… Oh, sorry! It really is stuck in our heads.
You might have heard about the little hippo in question, since she’s become quite an internet sensation.
Written in the tune of the 1979 hit “My Sharona” by the Knack, it’s a song for Fiona in honor of her half-birthday, and it’s a seriously catchy tune that’ll have you singing this cutie’s name all day long.
But it isn’t the whole reason that it seems like everywhere you go, people are talking about this little hippo calf. It does, however, have a lot to do with just how much she’s seemed to beat the odds.
She was expected by the Zoo’s staff to be born sometime in March, but instead… she surprised them on January 24th, about 6 weeks premature, and very underweight at a tiny (for a hippo) 29 pounds, where they generally weigh 50-100 pounds at birth.
But everyone’s big cause for celebration is: 6 months later, and she’s doing swimmingly.
Her chances of success were slim at first, but the Cincinnati Zoo’s staff worked tirelessly to give Fiona 24 hour care and everything she needed to get to a normal size and weight for young calves.
For a while, she couldn’t support her own weight, and she definitely couldn’t swim without a little bit of help. Now, she can do all of that and more!
— Cincinnati Zoo (@CincinnatiZoo) July 31, 2017
She’s in the water regularly, and even visits the outdoor viewing area to greet guests and interact with other hippos, though she took her time learning to be comfortable in the much bigger outdoor pool.
She’s even had her full family reunion! The zoo separated the calf from her parents for the first few weeks to make sure that the little hippo was healthy after her premature birth before anything else. She was introduced to Bibi first, who was very interested in her baby immediately.
Then she was introduced to Henry, and at 36 years of age, he had not interacted with a calf in a long time and was a little uncomfortable around her. So he took a little while longer to adjust to little Fiona’s young curiosity.
Fiona being playful with her Dad. Hippos use their mouths to play, show affection, give warnings, and explore their world. pic.twitter.com/VCyVTHlMSa
— Cincinnati Zoo (@CincinnatiZoo) July 16, 2017
But in the above video, you can see that Henry seems to have accepted her, in the end!
Now, after Fiona has overcome everything her little life has thrown at her, she’s growing like a normal baby hippo should— catching up and passing the normal weights with flying colors, and has been reunited with her mom and dad for a happy little bloat.
We at Awesome Ocean are totally #TeamFiona, and are rooting for this little hippo like the rockstar she is, as she continues to grow and figure out the world around her!