What should the Cincinnati Zoo name its new baby hippo?

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

What You Need To Know

  • The Cincinnati Zoo and Botanical Garden needs helping to name its newborn hippo calf
  • Fritz and Ferguson are the two names left in the running
  • The zoo received more than 90,000 name suggestions in just a few days
  • Voting closes Sunday at noon

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

After receiving tens of thousands of name suggestions from the public in the matter of just a few days, the zoo decided on those two names as the favorites for the barely 1-week-old male calf.

The zoo went to social media to ask the public to choose between the two names. Voting ends Sunday at noon. The zoo plans to announce the winning name on Monday.

The newborn male hippo standing next to its mother at the Cincinnati Zoo and Botanical Garden. He was much bigger than his sister. (Photo Courtesy of Cincinnati Zoo and Botanical Garden)

News of the pregnancy of Bibi, the calf’s mother, this spring became a topic of conversation in Cincinnati and all corners of the internet. It was her second pregnancy, and her first with Tucker, who arrived in Cincinnati in September 2021.

The calf was born Aug. 3, but the zoo didn’t identify his sex until Monday. On Tuesday, they invited the public to offer name suggestions and votes came pouring 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 more than 90,000 suggestions overall.

The zoo settled on Fritz and Ferguson because of how well they both pair with Fiona, the name of the newborn’s big sister and the original hippo internet sensation.

For those who don’t know, Fiona, now 5, was born six weeks premature. She weighed only 29 pounds and wasn’t able to stand on her own, according to Christina Gorsuch, the zoo’s director of animal care. Fiona wouldn’t 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 bigger than the size of Fiona when she was born, Gorsuch said.

Fiona’s to-be-named little brother weighed at least twice as much as Fiona did at the time of his birth, Gorsuch said. The zoo posted videos of him swimming, walking and being quite active not long after he was born.

Neither Bibi nor her newborn has made their public debuts just yet. The zoo planned to keep them inside for about two weeks following the birth.

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

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