Bibi the hippo has given birth to her second baby, following in the footsteps of the zoo’s most famous resident, Fiona. Photo courtesy of Cincinnati Zoo
Aug. 4 (BP) — The Cincinnati Zoo and Botanical Garden has welcomed the birth of a new baby hippo, making its most famous inhabitant, Fiona, a new big sister.
The Ohio-based zoo said that 23-year-old Bibi the hippo gave birth to a new calf at approximately 10 p.m. Wednesday evening.
“Our bloat got a little bigger last night!” the zoo said on Facebook. “All seems to be going well for Mom and baby so far.”
The zoo added that the pair would remain off habitat for the next two weeks in order to bond with each other.
The sex of the unnamed baby has not yet been announced.
“Bibi and the baby, yet to be named, will spend the next two weeks bonding behind the scenes,” said Christina Gorsuch, the Cincinnati Zoo’s director of animal care. “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.”
Bibi’s baby will become the latest in the Cincinnati Zoo’s group of hippos, including Tucker, a 19-year-old male that was transferred from the San Fransisco Zoo in California in 2021.
The group’s most famous resident, though, is the baby’s older sister, Fiona, who became the first hippo born at the zoo in 75 years in 2017.
Fiona’s growth and development was documented across social media by the zoo, and she quickly became one of the most famous zoo animals in the U.S.
She has had a number of viral moments, and has even had a children’s book written about her.
Fiona has also predicted the winner of the Super Bowl every year since her birth.
Fiona has additionally helped to generate knowledge about hippo conservation, given that the animal is listed as vulnerable by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN).
This is especially true in Africa, where poaching is common.
Despite habitat loss, the species as a whole has remained relatively stable in recent years, with the World Wildlife Fund estimating a wild population of 115,000 to 130,000.
These low numbers, though, have renewed calls for the hippo to be officially placed on the list of the world’s most endangered animals.