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Are you watching and waiting for a Bibi baby hippo update? Here's the latest

bibi the hippo
Teagan Dumont
/
Cincinnati Zoo Facebook

Baby hippo watch continues at the Cincinnati Zoo. Keepers gave an update and took questions during a Facebook Live video Wednesday. Senior Africa keeper Jenna Wingate reported that as of noon, Bibi was not in labor, but is showing signs it could be soon.

"At this point, we can't say she's in active labor," Wingate said in the video. "But we do think she's getting closer to that and we are very, very excited, but of course, cautiously optimistic. Things can always go wrong, but we are crossing our fingers, and we have a lot of faith in Bibi that this will be a nice healthy calf."

Bibi's official due date was set at Aug. 15, but she was considered to be full term as of mid-July.

Wingate said labor typically lasts around 12 hours but could be as short as six. Hippos typically give birth in water, though Bibi birthed Fiona on land so it could go either way this time.

"A lot of the signs of labor that we're looking for are Bibi choosing not to come out for breakfast in the morning, rolling on her side, pulling her tail away from her body. We could see signs of her losing her mucus plug, and basically just different behaviors and movements that she wouldn't typically make. And today (Wednesday) one of the biggest signs is that she chose to stay in the indoor pool," Wingate said.

Since the pregnancy was unexpected, Manager of African Animals Eric Byrd says they don't know the sex of the calf.

"We actually missed that window when we were ultrasounding because it's pretty early on in hippo pregnancy that you're able to tell that, mostly just because it's such a large fetus that you have to have access to that early on when it's smaller. And because we didn't have access to that early on, we missed that opportunity," said Byrd. "We're just gonna guess boy or girl, just like you guys. Hopefully it ends up being healthy and works out well."

Bibi has gained about 200 pounds, most of which is water and fluid, Wingate said, adding the baby could be up to 100 pounds at birth.

The zoo says it doesn't have any names yet.

Wingate and Byrd answered more questions, including what Tucker's role might be in calf-rearing and whether baby hippos are born head-first. You can watch the full video here or below.

Tana Weingartner earned a bachelor's degree in communication from the University of Cincinnati and a master's degree in mass communication from Miami University. Prior to joining Cincinnati Public Radio, she served as news and public affairs producer with WMUB-FM. Ms. Weingartner has earned numerous awards for her reporting, including several Best Reporter awards from the Associated Press and the Ohio Society of Professional Journalists, and a regional Murrow Award. She enjoys snow skiing, soccer and dogs.