PHOTO: Fiona and mom go for swim

PHOTO: Fiona and mom go for swim
Fiona in Hippo Cove. (FOX19 NOW)
Fiona and Bibi swimming in their pool. (Source: Cincinnati Zoo & Botanical Garden)
Fiona and Bibi swimming in their pool. (Source: Cincinnati Zoo & Botanical Garden)

CINCINNATI (FOX19) - Cincinnati Zoo's beloved baby hippo has been spending time swimming with her mom.

A photo released Thursday shows Fiona and Bibi together for the first time together in Hippo Cove.

"Fiona was hesitant to go in the pool with her mom at first but made some progress Wednesday," the zoo said. "She seems to be getting comfortable with another hippo sharing the big pool with her."

The path to view hippos may be closed from time to time to give Fiona and Bibi privacy to explore the outdoor habitat together.

For the past week, Fiona has been spending quality time with Bibi in the same stall.

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.

Until last Friday, 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."

Fiona will 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.

Fiona will keep been exploring the outdoor habitat at her own pace. She is currently offered access outside for one hour a day but is still not on a set schedule yet.

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