Buckeye Beat: Baby Hippo in Cincinnati

TODAY, THE CINCINNATI ZOO AND BOTANICAL GARDEN IS HOME TO MORE THAN 500 ANIMAL SPECIES – INCLUDING THESE GUYS THE HIPPOPOTAMUS AMPHIBIOUS – OR JUST HIPPO FOR SHORT. IT’S A MOSTLY HERBAVORUS MAMMAL FROM AFRICA. 

ON THIS WEEK’S BUCKEYE BEAT, WE MEET THE LATEST ADDITION TO THE CINCINNATI ZOO’S HIPPO FAMILY!
SHE MIGHT LOOK HEALTHY AND PLUMP NOW, BUT THE CINCINNATI ZOO AND BOTANICAL GARDEN’S NEW BABY HIPPOPOTAMUS, FIONA, HAS HAD A LOT OF UPS AND DOWNS OVER THE COURSE OF HER SHORT LIFE.

EVEN BEFORE SHE WAS BORN, SHE MADE HISTORY, BY BECOMING THE FIRST NILE HIPPO SEEN IN AN ULTRASOUND IMAGE. AN ULTRASOUND IS A TEST THAT USES SOUND WAVES TO CREATE AN IMAGE OF SOMETHING WITHIN THE BODY. IN THIS CASE, BABY FIONA AND HER BEATING HEART COULD BE SEEN WITHIN HER MOTHER BIBI.  

WHILE THE ULTRASOUND IMAGES REVEALED A HEALTHY BABY HIPPO, FIONA WAS BORN 6 WEEKS EARLIER THAN EXPECTED ON JANUARY 24TH. THE BABY HIPPO REQUIRED THE SAME ROUND-THE-CLOCK CARE AS A PREMATURE HUMAN BABY. SHE WAS ON AN IV FOR SOME TIME BECAUSE SHE WAS DEHYDRATED.

BUT FIONA HAD A CAN-DO SPIRIT, AND CONTINUED TO GROW! SHE REACHED MAJOR MILESTONES LIKE STANDING ON HER OWN FOR THE FIRST TIME, TEETHING, AND BEING IN A POOL FOR THE FIRST TIME.

NOW FIONA IS SPLASHING AROUND LIKE A PRO – HAVING OUTGROWN TWO SWIMMING POOLS! IT’S IMPORTANT FOR ZOOKEEPERS TO GET HER USED TO THE POOL BECAUSE HIPPOS ARE AMPHIBIOUS ANIMALS AND SPEND UP TO 16 HOURS PER DAY IN THE WATER! AMPHIBIOUS ANIMALS ARE ANIMALS THAT LIVE BOTH ON LAND AND IN WATER. 

AND ANOTHER ACHIEVEMENT THIS WEEK: FIONA, WHO HAS ALWAYS STRUGGLED BEING BOTTLE-FED, HAS GRADUATED TO A MUCH LARGER BOTTLE! TAKE A LOOK AT THAT MILK MUSTACHE! 

IF YOU VISIT THE CINCINNATI ZOO TODAY, YOU WON’T SEE FIONA OUT AND ABOUT YET. ZOO KEEPERS ARE WAITING FOR FIONA TO GET EVEN STRONGER BEFORE SHE GREETS HER MANY FANS!
 


Instructional Links

Website Article: Cincinnati Zoo, Hippo Cove

Videos: YouTube, Cincinnati Zoo Baby Hippo

Magazine Article: EBSCOhost, Zoobooks, April 2014 | Art project. May need password

Video: PBS LearningMedia, Will Kratt, Water Walking with a Hippo  | demonstrates amphibious travel of hippos

Website Article: Explain That Stuff, Ultrasound | Includes explanation, diagram & links to articles

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