WCPO: Cincinnati Zoo care team ready for Fiona's sibling to arrive

UC master's student performs weekly ultrasounds on hippo mom

WCPO highlighted University of Cincinnati master's student Julie Barnes' unusual day job as a veterinarian at the Cincinnati Zoo & Botanical Garden.

Julie Barnes poses in front of the CREW logo.

UC master's student Julie Barnes poses in front of the Cincinnati Zoo's CREW logo. Photo/Lisa Hubbad/Cincinnati Zoo

As part of her work with the zoo's Lindner Center for Conservation and Research in Endangered Wildlife, Barnes performs ultrasounds on a 3,000-pound hippo. The hippo, named Bibi, is the mother of Fiona, a hippo born six weeks premature in 2017 whose early struggles made her a beloved international celebrity. And soon Fiona will have a baby brother or sister.

Barnes told WCPO that zoo staff are hoping Bibi will bring her new baby to full term, a milestone that should take place about two months from now. So they are monitoring the pregnancy closely, Barnes told WCPO.

"I think we'll all finally take a breath that we've done it, we've done a great job of it and we're all going to have to have a celebration after that," she said. "As will the rest of Cincinnati, too."

The WCPO story was shared in 34 TV markets around the country.

When she is not working with endangered animals such as snow leopards and Amur tigers, Barnes is studying biological sciences in UC's College of Arts and Sciences. She came to UC to learn more about conducting research in UC assistant professor Elizabeth Hobson's lab.

Watch the WCPO story.

Julie Barnes performs an ultrasound on a sedated snow leopard in a medical facility at the Cincinnati Zoo.

UC master's student Julie Barnes performs an ultrasound on an endangered snow leopard at the Cincinnati Zoo & Botanical Garden. Photo/Provided