Raw video of Fiona at Cincinnati Zoo. Do not post online without editing. I will send another one for online soon.

Fiona’s big adventure: Cincinnati Zoo hippo explores outdoor pool

PHOTOS: Fiona in Hippo Cove Pool

With cell phones and cameras rolling, Fiona took a swim Wednesday in the Hippo Cove pool at the Cincinnati zoo.

The media-only event offered a close-up look of the premature hippo who zoo officials say is not quite ready for her public debut.

MORE: 3 times Fiona the baby hippo stole our hearts 

Fiona’s care team is introducing her to the outdoor habitat after hours, and said the goal is to have the public be able to see her in the next couple of weeks.

And when she does eventually come out during zoo hours, visitors may or may not see her. She could be napping behind a rock or opting to be inside, according to Jenna Wingate, Africa keeper and a member of Fiona’s care team.

Fiona the hippo explores the outdoor habitat at the Cincinnati Zoo

MORE: Baby hippo Fiona catches a glimpse of her parents

Here’s what else the Cincinnati Zoo told us today:

When will Fiona be with her mom and dad?

She has had contact with both mom and dad and interactions have been positive. It’s important to take introductions slowly, so we can’t give an exact timeline for when they’ll be sharing the same space. Every milestone, including getting comfortable in the outdoor habitat, gets us closer to that goal.

MORE: Fiona goes for a swim — and the Internet goes crazy

Why were people swimming with her today?

Fiona has to propel herself a long way, 9 feet, from the bottom of the pool to the surface to breathe. A young hippo would never be alone and would have their mom or other members of the bloat nearby as they learn how to negotiate water and encounter new things. Fiona’s care team is her surrogate bloat for now and help ensure that she is safe and comfortable while utilizing the entire pool. Members of her care team are there in case she struggles.

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