Mama hippo on ‘birth watch’ as Cincinnati Zoo preps for Fiona’s sibling

Fiona’s mother, Bibi, is on birth watch at the Cincinnati Zoo & Botanical Garden.

The hippo’s fetus was bigger at her last ultrasound than Fiona when she was born six weeks premature, the zoo said Friday.

Zoo staff expect Bibi to be full term in early August.

“Our volunteer observer team is starting their birth watch today,” the zoo tweeted. “They’ll keep a close watch on Bibi from 5 p.m. - 7 a.m. via video stream.”

While Bibi weighs more than 3,000 pounds, she needs the same ultrasound scans human moms need. Veterinarian Julie Barnes demonstrated the process with about eight weeks to go in Bibi’s pregnancy.

The care team trained the mama hippo to lean against a railing while eating romaine lettuce. Barnes swoops in with an ultrasound wand.

“It’s amazing,” Barnes said. “Not many people can say they’ve ultrasounded a hippo.”

Because Fiona the country’s favorite hippo had a difficult early life, the zoo is doing everything it can to make sure Bibi’s second baby is born healthy and happy. When the calf arrives, Barnes said they’ll finally get to breathe.

“And my gosh, we’re gonna all have a celebration after that,” Barnes said.

Fiona, Bibi and father-to-be Tucker can all be found at Hippo Cove at the zoo.

Credit: Lynch, Gregory

Credit: Lynch, Gregory

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