Baby hippo Fiona transitions out of human care - Cincinnati News, FOX19-WXIX TV

Baby hippo Fiona transitions out of human care

CINCINNATI (FOX19) -

Cincinnati’s beloved hippo is growing up fast.

Fiona has transitioned away from human care and now spends nearly 24 hours a day with her mother, Cincinnati Zoo Keeper Wendy Rice wrote in a blog Friday.

A team of surrogate mom hand-raised Fiona after the hippo was born six weeks premature and 25 pounds too small. Fiona did not meet her hippo mom, Bibi, until she was four months old.

Thanks to the zoo’s intensive care, 6-month-old Fiona conquered health hurdles and now tips the scale at 400 pounds. A full-grown hippo weighs 3,000 pounds.

But her successful growth can pose a hazard to her human caretakers. At 400 pounds, it’s very easy for Fiona to inflict injury, even accidentally, Rice says.

[Cincinnati Zoo's baby hippo captures hearts across the internet]

“She still seems to enjoy interacting with us but has definitely learned that she is a hippo and prefers to spend her time with Bibi and Henry. At this point, we rarely share space with her anymore as there is not often a need and both Fiona and our care team need to understand that at this point in our relationship, it’s just better for everyone if there are safety barriers in place between us.

Fiona and her keepers interact only through a barrier wall when she is taking a bottle or eating fruits and vegetables.

Fans across the globe have watched Fiona flourish through the zoo’s daily updates social media. 

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