Cincinnati Zoo's baby hippo starting to stand on her own

Mother hippo gave birth 6 weeks early
Posted at 11:12 AM, Jan 28, 2017
and last updated 2017-01-28 13:36:19-05

CINCINNATI -- A prematurely born baby hippo is making progress toward standing on her own.

The Cincinnati Zoo said Saturday that the calf, born early Tuesday, is starting to support her weight for a few seconds at a time.

Zoo spokeswoman Michelle Curley said the hippo has gained almost 4 pounds since birth but is still about 20 pounds under the low end of a normal birth weight of 55 to 120 pounds for a Nile hippo.

GALLERY: Check out these adorable photos of her

The hippo continues to receive 24-hour-a-day care including exercises to help strengthen her muscles, Curley said.

Her mother, Bibi, gave birth six weeks early to the first Nile hippo born there in 75 years. Bibi was conditioned to stand still during ultrasounds throughout her pregnancy, zoo officials said, so she is comfortable with zoo keepers collecting milk for the calf.

The calf has been drinking her mother’s milk as well as a formula prepared by the zoo’s nutritionist.