Cincinnati Zoo Reveals Gender of Fiona the Hippo's New Sibling

·3 min read

It's a boy!

The Cincinnati Zoo revealed on TODAY Monday that the hippo calf they welcomed to its family last week is a boy. The baby hippo is the sibling of the zoo’s most famous hippo, 5-year-old Fiona.

Amy LaBarbara of the Cincinnati Zoo said on TODAY that it took a few days for staff members to figure out if the calf was a boy or girl.

"Bibi was doing such a great job being a great mom, so they really didn't want to interfere with that, they really wanted to let them bond," LaBarbara explained.

LaBarbara added the baby boy is "doing everything we want a baby hippo to be do," including swimming!

"He's amazing. He's doing so well, he's so strong, just staying great with his mom," LaBarbara said.

The Cincinnati Zoo also mentioned that they have yet to pick a name for the baby boy, and encourage the public to submit their name ideas for consideration.

Last week, the zoo said in a statement that the baby calf was already walking and weighed at least twice as much as his sister did when she was first born.

"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," Christina Gorsuch, the Cincinnati Zoo’s director of animal care, said in the statement.

Fiona, a Nile Hippopotamus, left, shares her specialty birthday cake with her mother Bibi, right, to celebrate turning 3 years old, in her enclosure at the Cincinnati Zoo & Botanical Garden, Thursday, Jan. 23, 2020, in Cincinnati. (John Minchillo / AP)
Fiona, a Nile Hippopotamus, left, shares her specialty birthday cake with her mother Bibi, right, to celebrate turning 3 years old, in her enclosure at the Cincinnati Zoo & Botanical Garden, Thursday, Jan. 23, 2020, in Cincinnati. (John Minchillo / AP)

Fiona was unable to nurse due to her small size, but that doesn’t appear to be the case with her sibling, meaning this is Bibi’s first time nursing a calf.

“Bibi and the baby, yet to be named, will spend the next two weeks bonding behind the scenes,” Gorsuch said. “A female would take her newborn away from the bloat for about that amount of time in the wild, and we try to give Bibi the choice to do what feels natural to her.”

The calf is currently spending bonding time with his mother, Bibi, before he will be introduced to the other hippos, Fiona and 19-year-old Tucker.

LaBarbara told TODAY that while Fiona and the baby have not met yet, he has seen her from a distance, adding it’s a "slow process" to introduce them.

“He follows her on Instagram,” TODAY co-anchor Savannah Guthrie joked.

In the meantime, the zoo said Fiona and Tucker are happy to spend time with each other, and 2,000-pound Fiona has even been seen napping on 4,500-pound Tucker!

In this Tuesday, June 26, 2018 photo, Fiona, a baby Nile Hippopotamus swims in her enclosure at the Cincinnati Zoo & Botanical Garden, in Cincinnati.   (John Minchillo / AP)
In this Tuesday, June 26, 2018 photo, Fiona, a baby Nile Hippopotamus swims in her enclosure at the Cincinnati Zoo & Botanical Garden, in Cincinnati. (John Minchillo / AP)

Fiona's size is a far cry from when she was born six weeks prematurely and several pounds underweight in 2017. She captured hearts as the Cincinnati Zoo team stepped in to help her nurse and reach milestones, like walking and celebrating her first birthday.