Sunday, July 24, 2016

Fiona The Premature Baby Hippo Takes Her First Wobbly Steps

A premature baby is scary and stressful for humans even with the most modern hospitals, but what if it's a hippo? Luckily, modern zoos are also filled with animal-loving experts willing to put in the time and effort necessary to ensure any baby critter has the chance to thrive. 

Fiona the baby hippo was born six weeks early at the Cincinnati Zoo, where workers are giving her the 24/7 attention she needs.

Her mom, Bibi, wasn't expected to give birth until March, and the baby wasn't strong enough to nurse on her own, so the staff has been bottle-feeding. It's mostly Bibi's milk, but zoo nutritionists are supplementing with formula to help her gain strength. 

The team is keeping everyone up-to-date with regular posts on their social media pages, and Fiona is getting stronger every day.

Look at that smile!

To help Fiona learn to regulate her breathing with her still-developing lungs, her caregivers had her lie on their chests, letting her feel the rhythm of their breath and match it. 

Hippos have a "dive reflex" that forces them to hold their breath when underwater, but Fiona's lungs are struggling to control it right now. 


Author: verified_user