Baby hippo Fiona takes her first steps at Cincinnati Zoo

Also took in formula overnight

CINCINNATI -- There's good news about baby Fiona after a shaky few days: She took her first steps.

"Fiona was active during the night and consumed a good amount of formula on her own," zoo spokeswoman Michelle Curley said Sunday. "Keep the positive vibes coming!"

Zoo staff have been watching over Fiona around the clock since she was born six weeks premature and far underweight.

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Keepers worked Saturday to regulate her oxygen intake, so they held her chest to chest so she could feel normal breathing. Her lungs absorb carbon dioxide when she holds her breath, a natural reflex for when hippos go underwater. That was causing her oxygen levels to dip, the zoo said.

The zoo announced Friday she was being given milk via a feeding tube because her energy was low, and because she continued to have a weak suckling response.

 

Fiona weighed 29 pounds when she was born, which is about 25 pounds lighter than the lowest recorded birth weight for this species. The normal range is 55 to 120 pounds.

She is being cared for in close proximity to mom and dad, Henry, so they can hear and smell each other, zoo officials said.

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