Fiona is officially a big sister! Bibi's baby has arrived
The wait is over! Bibi has given birth to a second hippo calf, making Fiona a big sister.
The Cincinnati Zoo says a healthy full term hippo baby was born around 10 p.m. Wednesday.
"This calf looks huge to us because Fiona, Bibi’s first baby, only weighed 29 pounds when she was born six weeks premature and wasn’t able to stand on her own. This new calf weighs at least twice as much as Fiona did and is already walking,” said Christina Gorsuch, Cincinnati Zoo’s director of animal care in a release. “We’re not sure if nursing has occurred yet because the water is murky. It’s Bibi’s first time nursing, since Fiona had to be cared for by the hippo staff, so we’re keeping a close eye on them to make sure we don’t need to step in.”
The zoo says mom and baby won't be on display right away but it will post pictures and video as able. The baby's gender was not immediately known. A name hasn't been selected either, the zoo reports.
Our bloat got a little bigger last night! Bibi gave birth around 10pm and all seems to be going well for Mom and baby so far. They will remain off habitat for about 2 weeks to bond. Stay tuned for more updates. https://t.co/aWIDaFuMxl pic.twitter.com/dVLnRl0U0y
— Cincinnati Zoo (@CincinnatiZoo) August 4, 2022
Bibi began showing signs Tuesday that labor was approaching. A post in a zoo member's group reported, "After showing increased activity (or signs of restlessness) on habitat this morning, it became evident that Bibi wanted to be alone inside the hippo barn. She's been in the indoor hippo pools this afternoon snacking, resting and getting comfortable."
Bibi's official due date was estimated at Aug. 15, but she was considered to be at full term in mid-July. Keepers began separating Bibi from Fiona and Tucker at night around the end of July, just as a precaution. She had also begun to show signs then of wanting to be left alone while eating.
Volunteers and staff began monitoring Bibi around the clock in late July. Volunteers were monitoring her in four-hour shifts, both in-person and remotely on their computers. Staff could also monitor Bibi from home.
Jenna Wingate, senior Africa keeper, previously told WVXU the zoo has space for four hippos, so the calf will stay here for a while. Ultimately — because of breeding and other concerns — the calf will likely be moved to a new home in two to five years, she estimates.
The zoo announced in April Bibi was pregnant. At that time, it was estimated she was about four months along when the unplanned pregnancy was discovered.