Cincinnati Zoo’s Preemie Hippo Is Hungry Hungry!

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“We are giving her fluids and keeping her moist and warm,” explained Christina Gorsuch, curator of mammals at the Cincinnati Zoo. “Her little system is underdeveloped,” she added, “and getting her to a healthy weight will be a challenge. Vets and animal staff are doing everything they can to get her through this critical time.”

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For now, zoo vets and animal care staff are providing around-the-clock intensive care for the baby. Though the calf is being kept in close proximity to Bibi and Henry, hippos are known to be unpredictable and aggressive animals – mother hippos especially, if they feel their offspring are in danger. Once the calf is strong enough to get onto her feet, the zoo’s team will plan for her reunion with Bibi.

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Proper nutrition is crucial during the calf’s first few weeks. At Bibi’s last ultrasound, staff were able to collect milk from her. “We’re hoping to get the baby to drink Bibi’s milk and other supplements from a bottle,” stated Christina Gorsuch.

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“We’ll continue to milk Bibi so we can provide these important nutrients to the baby and also stimulate production so she’s ready to nurse when the baby is strong enough to be back with mom,” Gorsuch added. The Cincinnati Zoo’s new baby hippo has a LOT of growing to do: mature female hippopotami can weight up to 2,900 pounds – a hundred times the baby’s birth weight! You can keep tabs on the baby hippo’s progress at the Cincinnati Zoo’s website and Facebook page. (via Cincinnati Zoo and WENN)

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