Fiona the hippopotamus was born on January 24, 2017 at the Cincinnati Zoo; this was just 15 days after her mother, Bibi, was confirmed to be pregnant! She was born 6 weeks premature (out of a usual 8-month gestation period).
Fiona was the first hippo born at the Cincinnati Zoo in 75 years, and she was the first in the world to be observed in her mother’s womb via ultrasound! Baby hippos weigh between 55 to 110 pounds, but Fiona was only 29 pounds. when she was born, and she had to be bottle fed with milk from her mother because her legs weren’t developed enough for her to stand and nurse.
The internet has been captivated by her harrowing journey for the last 2 years, as she and her care team at the zoo have dealt with health problems arising from her premature birth.
Yesterday, though, she reached a very important milestone: she now weighs just over 1000 lbs (about 454 kg)! An adult female hippo averages almost 3000 lbs (1360 kg), so she’s not there yet, but she’s well on her way.
Hooray! 🎉 Fiona finally broke the 1,000 pound milestone! That's a long way from the 29 pounds she weighed when she was born six weeks premature on January 24, 2017! Her #NewYearsReZOOlution: to keep growing! #teamfiona pic.twitter.com/xbXydyUcA2
— Cincinnati Zoo (@CincinnatiZoo) December 26, 2018
Hippos are listed as “Vulnerable” on the International Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources (IUCN) Red List of Threatened Species. News of Fiona’s progress, and people’s interest in it, are helping to spread the word about hippo conservation.
Twitter had lots to say about this amazing milestone, of course!
Fiona eating WHILE ON the scale is the mood I’m taking into 2019
— Miranda Parnell WIS (@miranda_parnell) December 26, 2018
— Tom Wylie (@WylieTom) December 26, 2018
This is the christmas gift I needed
— Seeking Employment Scum (@AgNOOK) December 26, 2018
— New York Post (@nypost) December 27, 2018
Congratulations to the staff and to Fiona! I remember praying that she would make it to 50 pounds. So happy!
— Pamela Lee (@PamelaL73427394) December 26, 2018
They grow up so fast. 😥
— Jason Grant (@jase0910) December 27, 2018
Earlier this year, Fiona managed to slip and fall adorably while eating Halloween pumpkin with her mother.
We’re all rooting for Fiona. We can’t help ourselves; she’s just so cute!