Zoo’s preemie hippo feeding via tube

Fiona (WLWT Photo)

CINCINNATI, Ohio (WLWT) — The Cincinnati Zoo’s preemie hippo is continuing to fight.

On Friday, zoo officials said that the 10-day-old Fiona continues to have a weak suckling response and her energy is low. She is receiving fluids and her mother’s milk via tube, and zoo staff is continuing to work with the calf to help her gain weight and get stronger.

Fiona was born Jan. 24 at the Cincinnati Zoo. The calf arrived six weeks earlier than her expected March due date and has been receiving critical care from zoo staff since vets determined that she was too weak to stand to nurse from her mother, 17-year-old Bibi.

She is being cared for in close proximity to Bibi and her father, Henry, so they can hear and smell one another.

Fiona weighed 29 pounds when she was born on Jan. 24, which is about 25 pounds lighter than the lowest recorded birth weight for the species. The normal range is 55-120 pounds.

This baby made history in utero earlier this month when zoo scientists captured the first-ever ultrasound image of a Nile hippo fetus, confirming that Bibi was pregnant.

Fiona is the first hippo born at the Cincinnati Zoo in 75 years.

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