It’s official: Fiona the hippo is now a big sister! The Cincinnati Zoo announced the birth of Bibi’s second calf early Thursday morning, and the baby arrived around 10 p.m. on August 3. The hippo, revealed to be a baby boy on Monday, is already walking and weighs about twice as much as premie Fiona did at the time of her 2017 birth.
Our bloat got a little bigger last night! Bibi gave birth around 10pm and all seems to be going well for Mom and baby so far. They will remain off habitat for about 2 weeks to bond. Stay tuned for more updates. https://t.co/aWIDaFuMxl pic.twitter.com/dVLnRl0U0y
— Cincinnati Zoo (@CincinnatiZoo) August 4, 2022
“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. This new calf weighs at least twice as much as Fiona did and is already walking,” says Christina Gorsuch, Cincinnati Zoo’s director of animal care. “We’re not sure if nursing has occurred yet because the water is murky. It’s Bibi’s first time nursing, since Fiona had to be cared for by the hippo staff, so we’re keeping a close eye on them to make sure we don’t need to step in.”
Zookeepers will leave Bibi and the new calf to bond for about two weeks before reuniting them with father Tucker and big sister Fiona. In the wild, mother hippos will spend the same amount of time with their calf away from the bloat. Zoo officials say Tucker and Fiona seem OK with the idea, with 2,000-pound Fiona spotted napping on her 4,500-pound pop.
Zoo members have access to live cams in the outdoor habitat and can watch the mom and her new baby in Hippo Cove from 8:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. daily. Access to the live hippo cams is also available to Virtual Members.
Thanks for the great name suggestions! The Hippo Team had the tough task of narrowing down 90,000 names & have chosen Fritz & Ferguson as their favorites. Both sound great with Fiona! Which do you like best? We'll announce the team’s final decision on 8/15 https://t.co/6W0rIvYnAj pic.twitter.com/pXQg2BcRw8
— Cincinnati Zoo (@CincinnatiZoo) August 11, 2022
After collecting your name suggestions, the Zoo has narrowed the field to “Fritz” and “Ferguson.” The Zoo will announce the final name on Monday, August 15.
The Zoo placed Bibi on birth watch on July 1, and keepers noticed she was becoming restless in her habitat on August 2. Behaviors such as rolling on her side and holding her tail away from her body indicated Bibi’s discomfort, but the Zoo noted Bibi was not in active labor just yet. The Zoo’s Volunteer Observer Team has been watching Bibi overnight since July.
In an August 3 Facebook Live, senior hippo caretaker Jenna Wingate talked about the benefit of having another adult hippo at the Zoo.
“We’re thankful that Tucker has been a great addition in keeping Fiona company through all of this as Bibi chooses to spend some of this time alone,” said Wingate.
The zoo announced in a July 1 Instagram post that the calf was already bigger than Fiona was when she was born, meaning they were expected to be a typical healthy weight.
The calf is both Bibi and Tucker’s second, after Fiona’s father Henry died in 2018 from a chronic illness. Tucker was moved to the Cincinnati Zoo from San Francisco in 2021, along with a breeding recommendation from the Association of Zoos and Aquariums’ Species Survival Program.
See more cute hippo family photos and learn about Bibi’s pregnancy here.