Ever since Fiona the hippo made her dramatic debut at the Cincinnati Zoo (she was born six weeks premature in January), animal enthusiasts and media outlets alike have adamantly followed her every move. It seems as though each miraculous milestone becomes web-wide news — her first step, her first swim, her first photobomb — and the sweet little semi-aquatic mammal keeps the internet jonesin’ for a “Fiona fix."
But sadly, the latest Fiona news brings us no joy: She has lost her dad, Henry. The 36-year-old hippo had been battling an infection and abnormal kidney function that was causing him to lose his appetite and, in turn, weight. Although the zoo did their best to administer antibiotics, caretakers admitted it was a difficult challenge for a (literally) thick-skinned 3,500-pound creature who refused to eat. Ultimately, his condition did not improve, and they had to euthanize him today.
“We’re very sad to announce that our beloved Henry has died,” the Cincinnati Zoo posted on their Instagram. “Our care team did everything they could for him but he continued to lose weight and was becoming weaker and weaker. After an exam this morning, vet staff determined that Henry’s quality of life would not improve and made the difficult decision to humanely euthanize him.”
It was only four months ago that she was first introduced to her father (male hippos can be aggressive, so he was separated from his daughter for protective measures). The Cincinnati Zoo declared it a family reunion and even shared a sweet snap on their Instagram:
Although the news is tragic, Fiona still has her beloved mom Bibi, who will be able to lend her support during this difficult time. Sending love to the mother-daughter hippos and the Cincinnati Zoo.
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