A baby hippo has miraculously survived a record-breaking premature birth two months early despite medical staff initially fearing its chances of survival were “zero”.

Female calf Fiona was born two months early – but is now thriving

AN adorable baby hippo who was born two months early and was not expected to live is seen healthy and happy in these incredible photos.

Female calf Fiona was born prematurely at the Cincinnati Zoo and required critical care to make it through her first few weeks.

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Adorable baby Fiona’s life was in the balance after she was born prematurely – but now she’s healthy and happyCredit: Caters News Agency

imageThe little fighter was 25lbs lighter than the lowest ever recorded birth weight for a Nile hippoCredit: Caters News Agency
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Fiona snuggles up to a member of staff at the zoo while enjoying a snoozeCredit: Caters News Agency

imageFiona when she was first born and staff feared she would not surviveCredit: Caters News Agency

Weighing a mere 29lbs, she was 25lbs lighter than the lowest ever recorded birth weight for a Nile hippo, making her a record breaker from day one.

While staff were originally worried that little Fiona would not survive, she is now going from strength to strength.

Pictures show the happy little hippo guzzling from a bottle, snoozing through a medical check and getting used to splashing about in the water.

imageThe hungry hippo has come on in leaps and boundsCredit: Caters News Agency
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The female calf required round-the-clock emergency careCredit: Caters News Agency

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Hippos are usually in the womb for just over eight months – but Fiona was two months prematureCredit: Caters News Agency

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Hippopotamuses are among the largest living land mammals, although you wouldn’t know it from looking at FionaCredit: Caters News Agency

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At 200 pounds, Fiona is a far cry from her early days of lifeCredit: Caters News Agency

imageStaff at the zoo called her ‘strong and sassy’Credit: Caters News Agency
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The little hippo opens her mouth wide in this cute pictureCredit: Caters News Agency

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She still requires frequent medical checks but staff are optimistic about her futureCredit: Caters News Agency

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Fiona can’t join her parents just yet, but it won’t be long before she can play with mum and dadCredit: Caters News Agency

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Even though hippos spend most of their time in the water, they can’t actually swimCredit: Caters News Agency

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Fiona has reached 200 lbs and is learning how to move in the waterCredit: Caters News Agency

She is gaining her strength up before she can join her parents in the outdoor enclosure, but staff say she is already toughening up.

A zoo spokesperson said: “She’s grown into a strong and sassy hippo!

“She now weighs more than 200 pounds and has figured out if she doesn’t want to do something, all she has to do is sit down.”

Cincinnati Zoo is where beloved gorilla Harambe was shot dead in Harambe the Gorilla, who was tragically shot to death after a toddler fell in his enclosure in May last year.

In February a much-loved hippo was slaughtered after a “cowardly and inhumane” attack in the National Zoo of El Salvador.

Zoo director Vladan Henriquez said at a news conference that the hippopotamus was covered with bruises and puncture wounds after apparently being attacked with metal bars, knives and rocks.

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