Just about two years ago, the hearts of people the world over simultaneously exploded when Fiona the hippo was born six weeks premature at the Cincinnati Zoo. At the time, Fiona was a mere 29 pounds, which is 25 pounds lighter than any other recorded birth for the Nile hippo species.
Those at the zoo were worried she wouldn’t make it. People everywhere rooted for her, falling in love with her sweet face and her tiny grunts and the ins and outs (eating… swimming… napping) of her day-to-day.
Cue the awwws:
— Cincinnati Zoo (@CincinnatiZoo) February 25, 2017
Over the past two years, Fiona has persevered, and her fame has continued to skyrocket. Remember that time someone snapped a photo of Fiona smooching a little girl?
Or what about the time she photobombed someone’s marriage proposal?
And then there were the delightful photos from her first birthday celebration, during which she indulged in a birthday cake made of fruit:
— Cincinnati Zoo (@CincinnatiZoo) January 25, 2018
Well, it turns out Fiona has hit yet another very special milestone. The day after Christmas, the Cincinnati Zoo announced on its Twitter feed that Fiona had reached 1,000 pounds!
Hooray! 🎉 Fiona finally broke the 1,000 pound milestone! That's a long way from the 29 pounds she weighed when she was born six weeks premature on January 24, 2017! Her #NewYearsReZOOlution: to keep growing! #teamfiona pic.twitter.com/xbXydyUcA2
— Cincinnati Zoo (@CincinnatiZoo) December 26, 2018
This is especially notable as, according to People magazine, she’s the most premature hippo born in a zoo who has survived. And while the 1,000-pound marker is not necessarily significant in terms of Fiona’s health, it’s still a nice, big, round number that just begs to be celebrated.
“Fiona becoming 1,000 lbs. is a big deal to us because we didn’t know if she would survive in the first place,” Fiona’s primary caretaker, Jenna Wingate, told local radio station WVXU. “Starting out at 29 pounds when they’re typically 50 to 100 pounds, it is a big deal that she’s been gaining and increasing and becoming a regular hippo and growing as other hippo calves do.”
Wingate goes on to tell listeners that, “She seems to be right on track with other hippos her age and is hitting all the marks as she should,” as full-grown hippos tend to weigh in at around 3,000 pounds.
It looks like the perfect start to another new year:
We love you, Fiona!