CINCINNATI — Bibi is on birth watch!
The Cincinnati Zoo said Friday the hippo's fetus was bigger at her last ultrasound than Fiona was when she was born. Fiona, of course, arrived six weeks premature while zoo staff expects Bibi to be full term in early August.
"Our Volunteer Observer team is starting their birth watch today," the zoo tweeted. "They'll keep a close watch on Bibi from 5 p.m. - 7 a.m. via video stream."
While Bibi weighs more than 3,000 pounds, she needs the same ultrasound scans human moms need. Veterinarian Julie Barnes took WCPO through the process with about eight weeks to go in Bibi's pregnancy.
The care team trained the mama hippo to lean against a railing while eating romaine lettuce. Barnes swoops in with an ultrasound wand.
"It's amazing," Barnes said. "Not many people can say they've ultrasounded a hippo."
Because the country's favorite hippo had a difficult early life, the zoo is doing everything it can to make sure Bibi's baby is born healthy and happy. When the calf arrives, Barnes said they'll finally get to breathe.
"And my gosh, we're gonna all have a celebration after that — as will the rest of Cincinnati, I'm sure," said Barnes.
Fiona, Bibi and male hippo Tucker can all be found at Hippo Cove at the Cincinnati Zoo & Botanical Garden.
This story was originally published by WCPO in Cincinnati, Ohio.