Cincinnati Zoo Welcomes Premature Baby Hippo, Gives Critical Care

A premature baby hippo born early Tuesday is receiving critical care from staff at Cincinnati Zoo and Botanical Gardens due to being born six weeks early. The calf is female, as expected by the staff after seeing ultrasound images from its mother, Bibi, a seventeen-year-old Nile hippo. The female baby hippo is the first Nile hippo to be born at the zoo in 75 years.

Bibi mated  with the baby hippo's father, Henry who used to live until 2016 at Dickerson Park Zoo in Springfield. Currently, the premature baby is receiving critical care from the nursery and veterinarian staff since it was too weak and small to stand to nurse from its mom.“We are giving her fluids and keeping her moist and warm,” the curator of mammals at the zoo, Christina Gorsuch said in a statement.

She also explained that the baby hippo's system is underdeveloped, and helping her reach a healthy weight will be a difficult challenge to the staff, but that her heart and lungs sound healthy and she is adequately responsive to stimuli, but the development of her brain and muscles are yet to be determined. According to the KY3 , the Cincinnati Zoo assures the public that vets and animal staff are working hard to get the premature baby through its critical time. The calf was not expected to be born until March.

The yet-to-be-named baby hippo weighs 29 pounds. She is about 25 pounds lighter than the lowest recorded birth weight for hippopotamus. The normal range for a Nile hippo baby is 55 to 120 pounds, according to the Fox News .

Zoo staff were able to gather milk from Bibi as she was undergoing labor. They hope to get the milk so they can add important supplements that will help the baby hippo grow stronger and develop strength to stand and nurse from its own mother. Cincinnati Zoo hope to nourish its newest member to health and show it to the public this coming days.

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