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Zoo Caring For Premature Hippo

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Cincinnati Zoo & Botanical Garden

Not long after discovering one of its hippos was pregnant, the Cincinnati Zoo says 17-year-old Bibi has given birth six weeks early.This is the first Nile hippo born at the Zoo in 75 years.

The female calf is under constant, critical care from zookeepers. It is unable to stand or nurse from the mother.

"We are giving her fluids and keeping her moist and warm," says Christina Gorsuch, curator of mammals at the Cincinnati Zoo. "Her little system is underdeveloped, 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."

From The Zoo

The baby weighs 29 pounds, which is about 25 pounds lighter than the lowest recorded birth weight for this species. The normal range is 55-120 pounds. “She looks like a normal calf but is very, very small. Her heart and lungs sound good and she is pretty responsive to stimuli, but we aren’t sure how developed her muscles and brain are,” said Gorsuch.