CINCINNATI — The baby hippo born at the Cincinnati Zoo & Botanical Garden earlier this month now has a name. The zoo announced Monday morning the male would be known as Fritz.
Fritz’s mother, 23-year-old Bibi, gave birth on Aug. 3. The zoo discovered she was pregnant around April Fool’s Day and it came as a surprise since she was on birth control.
The zoo asked for name suggestions on Aug. 8 and two days later they had 90,000 collected from every U.S. state and more than 60 countries. The hippo care team selected Fritz and Ferguson as the finalists.
In a public poll, Fritz got 56% of the more than 220,000 votes.
“We would have been happy with either name, but we really think the name Fritz fits this spunky little guy’s personality,” said Cincinnati Zoo’s head hippo keeper Wendy Rice. “We also thought it was funny that it was suggested because ‘Fritz’ is here due to Bibi’s birth control being ‘on the fritz’.”
Bibi's first baby, Fiona, only weighed 29 pounds when she was born six weeks premature in 2017 and wasn’t able to stand on her own. Fiona now weighs 2,000 pounds.
Keepers stepped in when Fiona was born because she was too small and weak to reach Bibi to nurse. They were hoping that history would not repeat itself, and it appears that it has not, according to the zoo.
The zoo says Fiona and 19-year-old Tucker have been hanging out with each other and staying out of Bibi's way while she bonds with Fritz.
Fritz and Bibi are still bonding behind the scenes at the zoo and have yet to make their public debut together.