Fiona's Journey: Preemie hippo captures hearts worldwide - Cincinnati News, FOX19-WXIX TV

Fiona's Journey: Preemie hippo captures hearts worldwide

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CINCINNATI, OH (FOX19) -

It's hard to believe, but three months ago a baby hippo was born at the Cincinnati Zoo. 

As Fiona fought for her life, people around the world became fans, rooting for her to survive.

Now, the hippo is thriving as she celebrates her three-month birthday on Monday.

But it's been a long road for the Nile hippo.

Mother Bibi gave birth to Fiona on January 24, 2017. The calf arrived six weeks early and weighed just 29 lbs. That was 25 lbs. lighter than the lowest recorded birth weight for the species. The normal range is 55-120 lbs.

Zoo officials determined that if the hippo was going to survive, she needed intensive around-the-clock care from staff. 

Fiona was moved into a makeshift ICU in close proximity to her parents, Bibi and Henry.

Ever since, people have rallied around the Nile hippo, celebrating her milestones and showing support in many ways.

Fiona initially needed a feeding tube, IV and oxygen. 

The world watched as she had her very first pool experience, then again as she took her first steps.

She began teething and the zoo says like most preemies, had a rough few days.

When she became dehydrated, the Cincinnati Children's Medical Center stepped in to help.

But the hippo made it through. 

She continued to pack on the pounds and began playing in a larger pool.

Then, she got a bigger bottle.

She moved up to the same indoor pool her mom and dad use

As of April 21, Fiona was drinking 360 oz. of formula daily, as well as eating hay.

She's not quite ready to be back with her parents yet, but the zoo says there will be a "big announcement" when Fiona is ready to move to Hippo Cove, which could happen as early as June.

To celebrate Fiona's three-month-birthday, the zoo is posting photos all day to its Instagram and Snapchat accounts.

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