Zoo officials to take Fiona the hippo off bottle feeding

In this Thursday, March 23, 2017, photo provided by the Cincinnati Zoo & Botanical Garden, Wendy Rice, the zoo’s head keeper of Africa, feeds a bottle to a baby Nile hippopotamus born prematurely in January and named Fiona, in the hippo’s enclosure at the zoo in Cincinnati. The zoo says the female hippo, which weighed 29 pounds at birth and is the first Nile hippo born at the zoo in 75 years, is getting more independent and now tops 100 pounds (45.36 kilograms), meaning her days of napping on her human caretakers’ laps are dwindling. (Angela Hatke/Cincinnati Zoo & Botanical Garden via AP

CINCINNATI (AP) — The Cincinnati Zoo & Botanical Garden says Fiona the baby hippopotamus will soon eat nothing but grown-up hippo food as she’s weaned from her bottles of formula.

Fiona is closing in on 650 pounds (295 kilograms) after being born in January six weeks premature and weighing just 29 pounds (13 kilograms), far smaller than typical hippo newborns.

Fiona’s early struggles caught the world’s attention, turning her into an adored icon and star zoo attraction.

She received 24-hour care in her first months. A team from Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center helped zoo staff insert a lifesaving IV catheter when she became dehydrated.

A zoo spokeswoman says hippos are normally weaned between eight and 10 months. Fiona dines with her mother, Bibi, on hay, fruit, lettuce, beet pulp and grain.

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