CINCINNATI — After narrowing down the choice to two finalists and holding a public vote, the Cincinnati Zoo & Botanical Garden has decided to name the newest member of the hippo bloat Fritz.
Fritz is Bibi the hippo’s second calf and the younger brother to the world-famous Fiona. His name was selected by the hippo care team from the choices Ferguson and Fritz after a public vote. Fritz was the winner, receiving 56% of the over 220,000 votes cast.
The initial callout to the public last week to help name Fritz received a huge response, with more than 90,000 suggestions from every U.S. state and more than 60 countries, according to the zoo. And the vote between Ferguson and Fritz was even bigger: 223,542 votes were received, with 125,183 in favor of Fritz.
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“We would have been happy with either name, but we really think the name Fritz fits this spunky little guy’s personality,” Cincinnati Zoo’s head hippo keeper Wendy Rice said in a release. “We also thought it was funny that it was suggested because ‘Fritz’ is here due to Bibi’s birth control being ‘on the fritz.'”
Zoo staff appeared on NBC’s “Today” show Monday morning to announce the name choice, after also revealing the sex and the final two name choices on the morning show last week.
For now, Fritz and second-time mom Bibi are still inside bonding, while Fiona and dad Tucker will remain outside and visible to visitors, but the zoo said habitat and hippo introductions will begin soon. During that time, Hippo Cove may be closed at times, and the live cameras available to members and virtual members may be turned off.