Fiona p. 3

by Jackie7776
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Fiona p. 3

Fiona Arrives EarlyEarly Arrival The baby hippo made a surprise appearance on Tuesday, January 24, 2017 at 2:58am.The baby was six weeks earlier than expected. Bibi showed signs of labor in the late afternoon of January 23. Zoo staff performed an ultrasound that showed a major shift in the baby and confirmed that it was on the way. Bibi spent much of the approximately 19-hour labor process in the water, but she chose to deliver the baby on land. Zookeepers believe this was the only reason they we were able to save the baby. If the premature baby had been born in water, like many hippos are, her frail body and weakened state would very likely have meant that she would have drowned within minutes before zookeepers and vets had a chance to rescue her. Another first: keepers were able to collect milk from Bibi and analyze it so they could make up formula as close to mother’s milk as possibleTaking Care of Baby The newborn baby was at least 25lbs too small. The Cincinnati zoo reached out to other zoos all over the world. Various rescues and sanctuaries in Africa were able to provide us with critically helpful information based on their own experiences with caring for orphaned baby hippos. The calf began receiving critical care from vet and nursery staff since the premature baby was not able to stand to nurse from mom and Bibi did not seem to know what to do with a calf so small. “We are giving her fluids and keeping her moist and warm,” said Christina Gorsuch, curator of mammals at the Cincinnati Zoo. “Her little system is underdeveloped, and getting her to a healthy weight will be a challenge. Vets and animal staff are doing everything they can to get her through this critical time.” It must have been a scary time for everyone. A Very Little Hippo The newborn hippo baby weighed 29 pounds, about 25 pounds lighter than the lowest recorded birth weight for Nile hippos. The normal range is 55-120 pounds. “She looks like a normal calf but is very, very small. Her heart and lungs sound good and she is pretty responsive to stimuli, but we aren’t sure how developed her muscles and brain are,” said Gorsuch. The team is not sure how long it will take to get the premature calf on her feet. That developmental milestone must be reached before she can be reunited with Bibi. I think it’s smart that the people taking care of the baby hippo are keeping Henry and Bibi close by so they can hear and smell her.

Fiona gets milk from a bottle. The formula is made to be as much like Bibi's milk as possible.

Fiona requires around-the-clock care by trained zookeepers and vets.

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Bibi inspects Fiona. She did not quite know what to do with such a little baby, so she laid down next to her.

Fiona surprised everyone and arrived before her due date in March. It took a lot of skill, knowledge, and fast-thinking to take save Fiona because she was so tiny.

Fiona was only 29 pounds when she was born. The average newborn hippo is usually 55-120 pounds at birth.


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