Thursday, March 30, 2017

Baby Fiona: Here's a Dose of Happiness

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Dear George,
Few things give me as much pleasure these days as baby Fiona.  For those outside the Cincinnati area, Fiona is a two-month old hippopotamus born to parents Bibi and Henry at our zoo on Jan. 24, 2017.  Thanks to wonders of the modern age, the zoo has provided video updates on Fiona’s progress since her birth.  She was six weeks premature, and her early life was precarious.  The previous lowest recorded birthweight for a hippopotamus newborn had been 54 pounds, but Fiona only weighed 29.  Unable to stand to nurse from her mother, she was tube-fed in early weeks and only started regular bottle feeding in late February.  The zoo staff has given Fiona 24/7 care since her birth.  The wonderful news is that Fiona has made steady progress with her human care and is doing better every day.  Fiona reached 101 pounds on March 21.  She spends time in her pool about five times a day, and she’s more and more adept moving about her enclosure.  To see Fiona in action, search “Fiona Cincinnati Zoo” on YouTube, and you will get a couple dozen videos: Fiona feeding, napping, floating in her pool, splashing about, playing with toys, running in her cage, stretching her jaws, eating hay, and enjoying life.  I hope you’ll try one or two.  I can’t think of a better pick-me-up for a rainy spring day. 

SOURCES: “Hippy baby arrives six weeks early — Cincinnati zoo staff providing critical care for premature calf” (Jan. 24. 2017); “Hippo Baby Fiona Updates” (Jan. 25, 2017).

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