A publication of the Kentucky Center for Public Service Journalism

Long-awaited hippo family reunion at the Cincinnati Zoo happened Tuesday without a hitch

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The reunion that the world has been waiting for finally happened Tuesday at the Cincinnati Zoo & Botanical Garden’s Hippo Cove when BiFi (power duo name for Fiona and her mom, Bibi) was joined by Fiona’s dad Henry.

Photos courtesy of the Cincinnati Zoo

“The introduction lasted about an hour, and we couldn’t be more pleased with how it went,” said Christina Gorsuch, curator of mammals at the Cincinnati Zoo. “Fiona has been exploring the outdoor habitat with her mom for several weeks and has had contact with Henry inside, but today was the first time that the three hippos have been together.  Bibi was protective of Fiona and gave Henry cues about how to interact appropriately with the little one.”

Family introductions will continue and the hippo care team, encouraged by what they saw this morning, hopes to increase the trio’s time together. There is still no set schedule for when Fiona will be outside, with her mom or with both parents. When she is out, she has access to go inside, so visitors may or may not see her.

“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. I’m proud of our team.”

Fiona weighed 29 pounds when she was born, on January 24, which is about 25 pounds lighter than the lowest recorded birth weight for this species.  The normal range is 55-120 pounds.  Today she weighs almost 375 pounds.  Her parents weigh about ten times that.

The Zoo will continue to provide updates on Fiona’s progress on its website and on Facebook.

Cincinnati Zoo

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