Fiona captivates nation


Andrew Oakes

BABY. Fiona was born at 30 pounds. Since she was premature, she required bottle feeding initially. A lot has changed as Fiona is now over six hundred pounds (and no longer drinks from a bottle).

She stole the hearts of Cincinnati and the nation. She is all over social media with her adorable photos and videos. She is almost one year old and still receives attention. All of the attention raises a valid question: is Fiona the baby hippo getting too much coverage?

Ever since her premature birth on Jan. 24, 2017, Fiona has been all over social media. She is frequently posted about by the Cincinnati Zoo. She also has picture books and other merchandise. Graeter’s has a seasonal flavor of “Chunky Chunky Hippo” that is inspired by her. Fiona has been covered in the media by well-read publications such as USA Today, People Magazine, and E!.

While some may argue that the Fiona attention is unwarranted, the hippo brought light into an otherwise dreary 2017. The world may have felt like 2017 was a year full of bad news and a tense political climate, but Fiona was one of the few purely positive stories in the media. The praise Fiona received was refreshingly joyful.

When Fiona was born prematurely, she had health issues. She would get dehydrated, was underweight, and initially required around-the-clock care. Thanks to her social media presence, donations came in to support Fiona’s care and the zoo as a whole. If Fiona had not been such an instant star, she likely would not have received the funding.

Some believe that zoos are inadequate homes for animals, and animals should be left in the wild. While this is a different and more complex issue, in Fiona’s case, she may not have survived in the wild. As mentioned before, she required around-the-clock care that would not have been provided in the wild. Fiona’s presence in the limelight has contributed to her well being.

Fiona has also brought more visitors to the Cincinnati Zoo. The world has been following her progress, so individuals who come to Cincinnati tend to want to visit the famous hippo. From her birth to her first taste of snow, Fiona is constantly featured in positive stories in the media.

The nonstop hippo coverage may seem silly, but in a world where sad news stories come out each and every day, Fiona makes the world a better place one scoop of “Chunky Chunky Hippo” at a time.