Cincinnati Zoo Introduces Fiona the Hippo to Male Hippo Nearly 4 Years After Her Dad's Death
Fiona the hippopotamus—who was born prematurely on Jan. 24, 2017, and captured the heart of fans following her impressive growth over the years—has a new roommate!
On Monday, Cincinnati Zoo and Botanical Garden shared the exciting news that the Ohio zoo introduced Fiona and her mother, Bibi, to a new hippo, an 18-year-old male named Tucker. The trio shared the same pool and got along well during their first meeting.
"We planned to just let Tucker explore the outdoor habitat today and were going to introduce him to Bibi tomorrow and Fiona on Wednesday," Christina Gorsuch, the Cincinnati Zoo's director of animal care, said in a release. "But, Tucker seemed immediately at home in the outdoor pool, and the girls were vocalizing from inside to express interest. So, we followed their lead and put all three out together."
According to the zoo, Tucker arrived at the facility earlier this month from San Francisco and spent the past few weeks getting accustomed to his new home before meeting Fiona and Bibi.
Tucker's addition to the hippo pod comes close to four years after the death of Fiona's dad, Henry. The late male hippo passed away in October 2017 after months of battling health issues. The zoo announced at the time that they decided to humanely euthanize the 3500-pound hippo after he developed a severe infection and abnormal kidney function, which keepers feared weren't treatable.
"Vets and his care team worked tirelessly to keep him comfortable and help him fight this illness. Nothing—antibiotics, favorite foods, extra TLC—seemed to turn his condition around," Gorsuch said shortly after Henry's death. "We are all so sad to lose him. Everyone loved him. He was a sweet, gentle giant with a big personality."
"After watching Fiona fight, defy the odds, and literally make history, it feels especially unfair and defeating to have to accept this outcome for Henry," Wendy Rice, a head keeper at the Cincinnati Zoo, added in the zoo's statement on Henry's death.
Now that Tucker has gotten acquainted with Bibi and Fiona, keepers shared that the Association of Zoos and Aquariums' Hippo Species Survival Plan (SSP) is hopeful Tucker will become Bibi's mate.
Gorsuch said that animal lovers shouldn't expect a new baby hippo too soon since the Cincinnati Zoo's three hippos are still getting comfortable with one another.
This story originally appeared on people.com