What should the Cincinnati Zoo name its new baby hippo?

CINCINNATI — The Cincinnati Zoo and Botanical Garden needs help settling a seemingly impossible debate.


What do you want to know

  • The Cincinnati Zoo and Botanical Garden needs help naming its newborn baby hippo
  • Fritz and Ferguson are the two names still in contention
  • The zoo received more than 90,000 name suggestions in a matter of days
  • Closing of votes Sunday noon

Does her new baby hippo look more like a Fritz or a Ferguson?

After receiving tens of thousands of name suggestions from the public in just a few days, the zoo chose these two names as favorites for the just 1 week old male calf.

The zoo went to social networks to ask the public to choose between the two names. End of votes Sunday noon. The zoo plans to announce the name of the winner on Monday.

Newborn male hippopotamus standing next to his mother at the Cincinnati Zoo and Botanical Garden. He was much taller than his sister. (Photo courtesy of Cincinnati Zoo and Botanical Garden)

The news of the pregnancy of Bibi, the mother of the calf, this spring became a topic of conversation in Cincinnati and across the internet. It was her second pregnancy, and her first with Tucker, arriving in Cincinnati in September 2021.

The calf was born on August 3, but the zoo did not identify its gender until Monday. On Tuesday, they invited the public to come up with name suggestions and the votes poured in.

Submissions came from every state in the United States and more than 60 countries around the world, the Cincinnati Zoo said in a statement. There were over 90,000 suggestions in total.

The zoo opted for Fritz and Ferguson because of how they both pair with Fiona, the name of the newborn’s big sister and quirky internet hippo sensation.

For those who don’t know, Fiona, now 5, was born six weeks premature. She weighed only 29 pounds and was unable to stand on her own, according to Christina Gorsuch, director of animal care at the zoo. Fiona would not have survived without the intervention of her human caregivers.

In July, the Cincinnati Zoo posted on Instagram that the fetus that would become the new calf was already larger than Fiona’s height when she was born, Gorsuch said.

Fiona’s soon-to-be baby brother weighed at least twice as much as Fiona when he was born, Gorsuch said. The zoo released videos of him swimming, walking and being very active soon after he was born.

Neither Bibi nor her newborn baby has made their public debut yet. The zoo planned to keep them indoors for about two weeks after birth.

The public can keep a close eye on the zoo’s hippo bloat with a virtual membership. It allows daily access to cameras in the outdoor habitat of its Hippo Cove facility.

Vote takes place on a special website set up by the zoo.


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