Cincinnati Zoo hippopotamus Bibi, the mom of famous Fiona the hippo, should be giving birth to another calf imminently.
Keepers went on a Facebook live to answer some questions about Bibi and the calf.
Bibi, who gave birth to Fiona prematurely in 2017, became pregnant, earlier than zoo officials expected, after the introduction of male hippo Tucker into her habitat last year.
It was announced that Bibi was pregnant in April of this year. According to the hippo keepers, hippo gestation tends to be around 8 months. While Bibi’s due date isn’t until Aug. 15, hippos have a 30-day window they can give birth within, and Bibi is solidly within that window.
Bibi has been showing signs of labor, including irregular eating patterns and holding her tail to the side. But the keeper’s biggest indication that the baby is coming soon is that Bibi chose not to join Fiona and Tucker in the outdoor pool today.
According to the keepers, hippos in the wild will isolate themselves from the others leading up to their baby’s birth. Once the calf is born, Bibi will be kept from the others for at least two weeks and up to a few months. The keepers say they will follow her lead on reintroduction; signs that she’s ready will include sleeping near Fiona and Tucker within her separated pin area.
For now, people are watching Bibi around the clock in case she starts going into active labor. The birth typically should occur 12 hours after signs of contractions but can be as short as 6.
This calf will be full grown, unlike Fiona who was born at 29 pounds (25 pounds lighter than the lowest recorded hippo birth weight), and could be up to 100 pounds. Bibi has gained 200 pounds in her pregnancy, but her keepers say most of that is water and fluids.
Keepers say they do not know if the calf is male or female because they missed the window where they would be able to tell as the calf got too big for the ultrasound machine to be able to see it.
There hasn’t been a name picked for this new zoo baby; the keepers say they’re just focused on getting a healthy calf.
The Cincinnati Zoo & Botanical Garden is located at 3400 Vine St., Avondale. Tickets and more info: cincinnatizoo.org.
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