Fiona the hippo is celebrating another milestone!
The beloved animal, who weighed only 29 lbs. when she was born prematurely in 2017, turned 3 on Friday.
“Happy 3rd Birthday to the Greatest Hippo in the World! It’s been 3 magical years since fabulous Fiona came into all of our lives and changed us forever!” reads an Instagram post from the Cincinnati Zoo and Botanical Garden alongside a series of adorable and heartwarming videos of Fiona.
In addition to the birthday shout out, the zoo treated Fiona to an extra special cake, as well as her very first bubble bath!
“She celebrated her birthday with a cake (made of all of the foods that are part of her regular diet, like hay, beet pulp & produce, but frozen into cake tiers!)” the zoo wrote in an Instagram Story, alongside a shot of Fiona, who’s now 1,248 lbs., snacking on the treat.
“She also had her first bubble bath,” they wrote alongside another clip, which showed Fiona flapping her ears as she submerged herself in the sudsy water — which was specifically made for animals at the zoo.
Showing off her lovable personality, the birthday queen struck a fierce pose in front of her birthday cake in another social media image. “It’s my Birthday!!” the image’s caption reads.
Zookeepers are delighted to see how much Fiona is thriving these days, especially given the struggles she faced at the start of her life.
“It’s a big day, especially if you look back at where she was when we started,” Wendy Rice, the head keeper of the zoo’s Africa department, told NBC affiliate WLWT on Thursday. “At that point, we were taking it hour-by-hour, day-by-day – just grateful for every bit of time we had with her. Back then, it was difficult to imagine where she’d be three years down the road, if she’d even be here. But she’s here and she’s thriving. She continues to dazzle and amaze people around the world.”
And Fiona is definitely growing into herself!
“She has a full personality – She has such attitude and sass, and she’s not afraid of a camera. She has no trouble being in the limelight,” Rice added. “She’s getting a little bit bolder, a little braver, especially when food is involved.”
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But the Cincinnati Zoo isn’t the only place celebrating Fiona’s big day — the entire city is too!
“Fiona won the hearts of Cincinnatians when she fought to survive after being born six weeks early and terribly underweight,” said Cincinnati Zoo director Thane Maynard in a press release. “Three years later, people all over the world are still crazy about this normal, healthy hippo!”
Among the city-wide celebrations, a local brewing company is releasing a new 4-pack of Team Fiona beer and there will also be an ice cream party on Saturday.
In lieu of presents, the zoo hasasked that fans of Fiona — who has been voted the #1 Cincinnatian for the past two years — show their support by purchasing a custom t-shirt that will benefit Australian wildlife that has been impacted by the ongoing bushfires.