Premature hippo remains stable at Cincinnati Zoo

Premature hippo remains stable at Cincinnati Zoo

AVONDALE, OH (FOX19) - The premature hippo remained stable at the Cincinnati Zoo Saturday.

Fiona is now being positioned "chest to chest," so she can feel normal breathing in hopes of regulating her oxygen intake and minimizing the dive reflex.

Zoo officials said her premature lungs absorb carbon dioxide when she holds her breath (dive reflex) and causes her oxygen levels to dip.

The Nile hippo was born six weeks early. She is receiving 24/7 critical care from zoo staff.

Friday, zoo experts said Fiona's development still isn't where they'd like it to be right now.

"She doesn't really have the weight gain and the activity that we want to see, and that hopefully we'll see down the road in a week or two," Zoo Director Thane Maynard said.

Zoo officials hope to have Fiona living outside in Hippo Cove with her parents by the spring.

To learn more on how you can help Fiona, go here.

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