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Zoo: Fiona and her mother Bibi to remain family of 2 for now

The Cincinnati Zoo director said after losing Fiona's father, Henry, on Tuesday, Hippos Cove will only be occupied Fiona and her mother Bibi - at least for now. 

On Wednesday, Director of the Cincinnati Zoo Thane Maynard said it may be a couple of years before they add another hippo to join the bloat, or group of hippos. 

"It's not a thing done with the snap of a finger," he said. "We would work with the AZA, which is the Association of Zoo’s and Aquariums, and for many, many species they have an SSP, a Species Survival Plan, which is experts getting together for genetic reasons and deciding who moves where... kind of like a computer dating system or Match.com for hippos."

The 36-year-old had been struggling with health issues for months and had lost hundreds of pounds. After an exam Tuesday morning, they determined that Henry’s quality of life would not improve and made the decision to humanely euthanize him.  

Henry is the father of Fiona, the baby hippo who was born prematurely in January and overcame health scares to become an internet sensation. She was the sixth calf that Henry sired over the years.

Maynard said the zoo will keep tissues and other samples for learning and scientific purposes.

"When we lose animals... we do keep any tissue samples, or other things that we need to do to have for both making sure we have everything to learn from him and his passing, as well as sometimes just for scientific reasons," he said. 

Maynard said the loss of Henry is felt by everybody - especially by the staff that cared for him and knew him the best, but said may not be missed as much by Fiona and Bibi.

"Hippos are  animals that live in gregarious, very large groups in Africa, but they don’t have a hierarchy or a big family group, like gorillas and other primates. They’ll certainly notice that he’s gone, but there will be a good bloat of two," he said. 

Maynard said Henry will be long remembered.


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