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Zoo plan for baby hippo: More independence, nix lap naps

A baby Nile hippopotamus born prematurely in January and named Fiona walks down a ramp in her enclosure at the zoo in Cincinnati. The zoo says the 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

A baby Nile hippopotamus born prematurely in January and named Fiona walks down a ramp in her enclosure at the zoo in Cincinnati. The zoo says the 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.

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Wendy Rice, the zoo's head keeper of Africa, feeds a bottle to a baby Nile hippopotamus. (Angela Hatke/Cincinnati Zoo & Botanical Garden via AP)

CINCINNATI (AP) — The Cincinnati Zoo says its premature baby hippo, Fiona, is getting more independent and now tops 100 pounds (45.36 kilograms), meaning her days of napping on her human caretakers' laps are dwindling.

She was born at the zoo in January and weighed just 29 pounds, far below the typical weight.

The zoo says caretakers raising Fiona are beginning to scale back their time with her, leaving her alone for a few hours at night. It's the beginning of a transition in how much contact they have as they move toward eventually integrating her into a group of hippos with her parents.

They say hippos can grow to be 3,000 pounds and are very dangerous, so at some point caretakers will begin interacting with her only from behind a protective barrier.

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