Famed Hippo Fiona of Cincinnati Zoo Hits Big Milestone After Premature Birth - NBC Bay Area
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Famed Hippo Fiona of Cincinnati Zoo Hits Big Milestone After Premature Birth

She was born about a third the size of a typical full-term Nile hippo

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    John Minchillo/AP, File
    This Jan. 10, 2018, file photo shows Fiona, a baby Nile Hippopotamus, walk through her enclosure at the Cincinnati Zoo & Botanical Garden in Cincinnati. Fiona was born six weeks prematurely at 29 pounds, well below the common 50-100 pound range, and required nonstop critical care by zookeepers to ensure her survival, but has become an international celebrity.

    The Cincinnati Zoo is celebrating another milestone for its famous premature baby hippo.

    The zoo said Wednesday that Fiona has hit 1,000 pounds (454 kilograms).

    The zoo acknowledges reaching that weight mark is more of a sentimental milestone since full-grown female hippos weigh about three times that. Senior keeper Jenna Wingate tells WVXU radio that it's "a big deal" because the zoo didn't know whether she would survive at birth.

    Born nearly two months early in January 2017, she was 29 pounds (13 kilograms). That's about a third the size of a typical full-term Nile hippo. She also was unable to stand or nurse.

    A zoo staffer hand-milked her mother Bibi, and Smithsonian's National Zoo helped develop a special formula. Nurses from Cincinnati Children's Hospital put in a hippo IV.