CINCINNATI -- “I run this show around here.”
Wendy Rice, one of Fiona’s zookeepers at the Cincinnati Zoo, hurried to get the little hippo’s ramp so she could go for an afternoon swim. They weren’t expecting to do pool time, but clearly Fiona had other plans.
“I don’t think aggressive is the right term, but she definitely gets sassy,” Rice said. “She has a little bit of a stubborn streak in her.”
Fiona doesn’t only call the shots at the zoo; the whole world has fallen in love with Cincinnati’s underdog, and hundreds of thousands tuned in Friday afternoon as she made her first Facebook Live appearance.
It's your lucky day! Were here for a special St. Patrick's Day #fblive with everyone's favorite hippo, Fiona, and her care team!
Posted by Cincinnati Zoo & Botanical Garden on Friday, March 17, 2017
When will you be able to see Fiona?
Rice said it’s hard to say at this point -- it really just depends on Fiona’s development.
“My best guess is probably not before the end of spring or maybe even summer. Definitely going to have to be a lot warmer and a little more developed before that happens,” Rice said as she patted Fiona’s back.
GALLERY: A look at Fiona's progress
Fiona now weighs in at over 90 pounds, a stark contrast from weighing only 29 pounds at birth. Her keepers feed her one liter of formula about six times a day.
“As you can see, she has no problem nursing from the bottle at this point,” Rice said. “It usually doesn't take her more than a minute or so to suck the whole thing down.”
Fiona is gaining one to two pounds a day, Rice said, and she will weigh approximately 3,000 pounds by the time she is three years old.
While she hasn’t made physical contact with her mom and dad, Rice said Fiona and her parents share the same holding area.
“Right now, our mom, Bibi, is probably about 12 feet away from us,” Rice said. “She can see Fiona, she can smell her, we can contact call to each other.
“She’s even come over to the barrier and kind of watched her baby through the barrier and kind of figuring out, ‘Who is that little hippo?’ We’re not a the point where we’re ready to go nose-to-nose quite yet.”
Fiona will have to grow bigger, withstand colder temperatures and be able to swim in the deeper pools before she can be in the same space as mom and dad.