Fiona Craze Strikes Across the Country By: Audrey McQuillian

 

The Cincinnati Zoo has been a home to thousands of animals for more than one hundred and forty years. The Cincinnati Zoo and Botanical Garden is the second oldest zoo in the United States. On Tuesday January 24, 2017, Cincinnati’s female hippo, Bibi, gave birth six weeks early to a hippo named Fiona. All staff and vets at the zoo worked around the clock to save this baby hippo. Fiona has battled a long journey to stay alive. This tiny, adorable hippo has become a nationwide sensation. Seton High School’s Freshmen Biology teacher, Alison Hinker who is currently studying at the Cincinnati Zoo to get her masters discusses how Fiona’s story has spread throughout the nation, “The fact that the zoo has been so good about communication with what was happening to her and that made all of us invested in her like she was our own. Fiona’s story is a positive story in the face of all the negative news around the world. Something we could share with our children and learn more about.” With this Fiona craze, attendance at the zoo has increased as well. Andrew Soergel, economy reporter for US News and World Report, in his article, “This Little Hippo Drive Big Business in Cincinnati” explains, “Attendance at the zoo is up 22 percent on the year. Donations for animal care have already doubled what was collected in 2016. The Cincinnati Zoo’s Facebook following has more than doubled in less than a year as videos of Fiona taking her first steps, swimming with her parents and trying to eat watermelon have become staples on hundreds of thousands of social media feeds reaching millions of people”. Fiona currently has her own merchandise, her own show on Facebook live, her own blog, as well as her own Busken Bakery cookie. All of this merchandise and advertisement of Fiona’s life has increased profit at the zoo. This money helps pay for the Fiona’s 24-hour intensive care. Fiona has stolen the hearts of so many animal lovers. Hinker adds, “She is the only hippo born in captivity at the age of gestation that she was to survive on record.” Currently in Orlando Florida, one of Sea World’s walruses gave birth to a premature walrus in July 2017. This premature walrus has not received the same amount of attention due to the lack of communication. Unlike Sea World, the Cincinnati Zoo is very transparent with Fiona’s story. The Cincinnati Zoo shows their audience the “behind the scene” features of Fiona’s journey, showing Fiona on Facebook live, streaming her everyday life. Allison Hinker gave a final fun fact, “She has a matching birthmark to one of her parents.” Fiona is continuing to grow stronger, and stealing the hearts of many fans across the country. Thanks to the Cincinnati Zoo, Fiona has survived and is continuing to prosper. This is just one of the many animals the Cincinnati Zoo has saved.  

 

Works Cited

Soergel, Andrew.  “This Little Hippo Drives Big Business in Cincinnati.” USN, 18 Sept. 2017,

https://www.usnews.com/news/best-states/articles/2017-09-08/fiona-the-little-hippo-drives-big-business-for-cincinnati-zoo

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