CINCINNATI (FOX19) - Cincinnati Zoo's beloved baby hippo crossed a major milestone this week. Fiona is finally spending time with her mom, Bibi, in the same stall.
The first video of the mother-daughter moment was posted to Facebook Friday.
"Fiona has two points of exit when she and Bibi share space, and her care team supervises the short interactions," the zoo said.
The video shows the 4-month-old hippo circle Bibi while sniffing, licking and exploring her 3,000-pound mother.
Fiona was born prematurely and has been separated from Bibi for the majority of her life.
She'll soon make her public debut in the outdoor Hippo Cove. Until then, keepers bring her out for short periods of chaperoned swims during normal zoo hours.
Until this week, the hippos could only observe each other through a mesh barrier. The barrier allowed them to establish "familiarity and comfort with one another until Fiona is ready to share the same space as the adult hippos," keepers said.
"Since Fiona was not healthy enough to spend that imprinting period with Bibi, Fiona may not recognize that Bibi is her mother and similarly, Bibi may not recognize Fiona as her daughter," Keeper Wendy Rice wrote in a blog post in April. "This does not mean that they won't accept Fiona or embrace her as one of their own, it just means that in their hippo brains, the parent/offspring relationship might not exist."