CINCINNATI – A zoo in Ohio is welcoming an adorable, newborn hippo this week.
The Cincinnati Zoo and Botanical Garden announced that Bibi the hippo gave birth around 10 p.m. Wednesday to a healthy, full-term hippo baby.
The zoo has not yet revealed the name or gender of the calf but said it weighs at least twice as much as its older sister, Fiona, did at birth. The newborn is also already walking.
“This calf looks huge to us because Fiona, Bibi’s first baby, only weighed 29 pounds when she was born six weeks premature and wasn’t able to stand on her own,” Christina Gorsuch, Cincinnati Zoo’s director of animal care, said in a release.
The newborn’s big sister Fiona is already a zoo celebrity. In the months after she was born in January 2017, the small hippo rose to national fame – inspiring her own ice cream flavor, children’s books and fan tattoos.
Do you love Fiona enough to get a tattoo? These dedicated fans do
Because the water is murky, it’s also not clear yet if Bibi is now nursing her newest calf. This would be her first time, since Fiona had to be cared for by hippo staff due to her premature status. The zoo said it is keeping a close eye on the mother and baby to make sure staffers don’t need to step in.
Beginning Tuesday, the zoo’s hippo team noticed a difference in Bibi’s behavior and shared that she was showing signs consistent with being in labor, including being restless outside and preferring to stay indoors.
Bibi and her baby will spend the next two weeks bonding behind the scenes and won’t be visible to the public. The zoo plans to share photos and videos if the care team can get them without disturbing the new baby and mom.
6.5 feet tall:Chilean zoo welcomes baby giraffe
What’s everyone talking about? Sign up for our trending newsletter to get the latest news of the day
“A female would take her newborn away from the bloat for about that amount of time in the wild, and we try to give Bibi the choice to do what feels natural to her,” Gorsuch said.
In the meantime, Fiona and new dad Tucker will remain with each other and out of Bibi’s way in the outdoor habitat, visible to the public, except during key introduction times.
Zoo members have access to live cams in the outdoor habitat and can watch the action in Hippo Cove daily, from 8:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Access to the live hippo cams is also available to virtual members.