Renowned Fiona the hippo is a soon-to-be a big sister.
Cincinnati Zoo & Botanical Garden recently hinted on social media that 1 of its residents is pregnant. Thousands of its followers engaged and pondered which animal it could be, with many guessing correctly that Bibi the hippopotamus is who is expecting.
“The hippo team is excited and also nervous,” said Eric Byrd, manager of Cincinnati Zoo’s Africa team, in an organizational release.1 “As most people know, Bibi’s first baby, Fiona, was born six weeks premature and wouldn’t have survived without the intervention of her human caregivers. We are hoping for a full-term pregnancy and will be doing everything we can to support Bibi.”
Reproductive physiologists at the Zoo’s Center for Conservation and Research of Endangered Wildlife (CREW) are collaborating with the hippo team and have recently put Bibi on hormone supplements. They will also perform regular ultrasounds to monitor the fetus’ growth and health.
Tucker, an 18-year-old male hippo, arrived in Hippo Cove in September 2021 and was quickly captivated by 23-year-old Bibi. According to the release, the hippos had a breeding recommendation from the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA) Species Survival Plan (SSP) Program.1
“We weren’t planning to welcome a baby this soon, but nature found a way and ignored our calendar,” expressed Christina Gorsuch, Cincinnati Zoo director of animal care, in the release.1
“Most forms of contraception, in hippos or humans, is not 100% reliable. The dose that was previously effective for Bibi did not prevent pregnancy this time.”
The Zoo will share social media updates on Bibi’s pregnancy in the months up until the birth, which they expect in the late summer of 2022.
Bibi is expecting! News release. Cincinnati Zoo & Botanical Garden. April 11, 2022. Accessed April 12, 2022. https://cincinnatizoo.org/news-releases/bibi-is-expecting