January 24, 2017, was just another day for most of us, except for those at the Cincinnati Zoo. On that Tuesday morning, a premature baby hippo, Fiona, came into the world six weeks before her due date. Weighing only 29 pounds, she required around-the-clock care, which included: tube-feedings, vet checks and keeping her warm, cincinnatizoo.org noted.
Little did the public know, a star was born. If you are like me, you check Cincinnati Zoo’s Facebook page for Fiona updates as if the page were your own. Little Fiona has effortlessly captivated the hearts of millions. One video alone reached 17.7 million views. Since Fiona made her debut, she has nearly doubled the zoo’s Facebook followers.
Fast forward a month after she was born and #TeamFiona t-shirts and magnets are flying off the shelves as fans collect their own piece of memorabilia. As the baby hippo continues to grow, so does her fan base. Cincinnati Zoo provides almost daily updates on Fiona’s progress and gives us all the cute hippo photos the Internet can handle. Fiona’s mom, Bibi, and dad, Henry, must be so proud.
Near the end of March, Fiona weighed in at a little over 100 pounds. Thus, beginning to move past her previous health obstacles. She still has quite a bit of growing to do though. “Adult Nile hippos weigh an average of 3,500 pounds and can crush a crocodile with their jaws and sharp teeth.” (cincinnatizoo.org) Photos show Fiona becoming more comfortable and independent in the water with the help of her caretakers – even seen taking a quick nap in her pool.
Fiona quickly became the queen of body positivity. Praise poured in as the diva hippo reached her 200-pound mark and showed off her double chin. If only human’s double chins received the same kind of admiration. Zoo keepers noted that Fiona stayed pretty quiet until around meal time when occasional grunts could be heard. Strange how suddenly humans and hippos seem more and more alike.
Here we are at the end of June, and Cincinnati’s favorite hippo is well over 300 pounds and continuing to captivate zoo-goers and her online audience alike. After you have checked out all her updates, you can kick back and sip on a Team Fiona IPA from Listermann Brewing Co. or purchase a deck of Fiona playing cards in the zoo gift shop or online. Plus, a portion of the proceeds benefit #TeamFiona!
In these few short months, Fiona has brought a little bit of joy to our newsfeeds and helped us embrace our own double chins. You go, girl.