It's a bittersweet chapter in the story of Fiona, the prematurely born hippopotamus at the Cincinnati Zoo and Botanical Garden.
The 6-month-old animal now weighs more than 400 pounds, but her successful development means her caretakers, who have doted on the baby in water and land since she was born, cannot share space with her out of safety concerns.
That's according to the latest update on the zoo's popular Fiona blog. The 10th installment was published Friday under the headline, "Breaking Up is Hard to Do."
"At this point, we rarely share space with her anymore as there is not often a need and both Fiona and our care team need to understand that at this point in our relationship, it's just better for everyone if there are safety barriers in place between us," the blog reads.
The caretakers are still feeding Fiona bottles three times a day, encourage her to eat fruits and vegetables and they continue to massage her mouth and check her dental development, but human interactions with the growing animal are decreasing.
"She still seems to enjoy interacting with us but has definitely learned that she is a hippo and prefers to spend her time with [mom and dad] Bibi and Henry," the blog reads.
Thank you for reading the Springfield News-Sun and for supporting local journalism. Subscribers: log in for access to your daily ePaper and premium newsletters.
Thank you for supporting in-depth local journalism with your subscription to the Springfield News-Sun. Get more news when you want it with email newsletters just for subscribers. Sign up here.