Fiona The Hippo Is One-Year-Old, And Her Journey So Far Has Been Nothing Short Of Inspirational

Date January 23, 2018

In the past several months, people all over the world have been rooting for the special hippo named Fiona. Thousands have been following her progress and as she celebrated her first birthday; her fans gladly sent her the best wishes.

How she became a social media star.

Fiona was born six weeks early. She was the first Nile hippo to be born at the Cincinnati Zoo & Botanical Garden in 75 years. Her birth, however, was not the smoothest.

Her mother, Bibi, went into labor on January 24 last year. Because the baby was coming so early, those attending to her were not optimistic that the the baby would survive.

After Fiona was born, things became even less hopeful. Her lungs were not strong and her muscle control was also weak. A normal newborn hippo weighs an average of 55-120 pounds, but Fiona weighed 29 pounds.

To increase her chances of survival, Fiona had to be placed in some sort of hippo NICU where she received constant care. The doctors and zoo caretakers worked very hard to keep the hippo alive. They shared her updates via the zoo's Facebook page.

The world witnessed Fiona's milestones. She learned to stand, swim, and walk while everyone cheered her on.

Fiona soon began to do much better. And as her story continued to make the rounds, she became even more famous. The hippo has become more or less a franchise with merchandises; an ice cream flavor named after her and even a campaign to get her featured on Time Magazine's Person of the Year.

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Thanks to Fiona, even the Cincinnati Zoo saw an increase in interest. Their Facebook account more than doubled in followership in the months after Fiona was born, and visits to the zoo increased by 20 percent in the last year.

Fiona's Birthday

To celebrate Fiona's progress and inspirational story, a birthday party was organized on Saturday, ahead of her real birthday which is on the 24th.

The Cincinnati Zoo shared a few pictures so fans can see how they favorite hippo spending her big day.

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According to the Zoo, Fiona even got to enjoy some birthday cake baked by a nutritionist in their establishment.

A post shared by Cincinnati Zoo (@cincinnatizoo) on

Happy birthday Fiona! It has been such a pleasure to watch you defy the odds and survive.

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